Buffalo, NY—Mayor Byron W. Brown announced that the City of Buffalo and Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency (BURA) will re-launch its STAND-UP Buffalo rental assistance program for income-eligible residents to cover any gaps created by the complete expenditure of funds from the New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). The City of Buffalo, along with most of the municipalities across the State, partnered with the New York State Office of Temporary Disability Assistance (OTDA) to create a single, unified portal that City residents could use to apply for rental assistance funds. The portal could be accessed through the internet or a toll-free hotline. Last week, Governor Hochul announced that the ERAP system was being temporarily shut-down due to the complete allocation of all available funds and that she was seeking nearly $1 billion in additional rental assistance from the federal government to meet the ongoing demand.
Mayor Brown said, “My Administration is committed to using every resource available to continue helping struggling residents who need rental assistance as a result of the disruptions in our work and economic lives directly or indirectly related to the pandemic. The rising number of COVID cases in Western New York is only the latest demonstration that this pandemic is not over yet. That is why the City is re-launching its STAND- UP Buffalo rental assistance services because no family should have to begin the holiday season in danger of being evicted.”
Since its launch, the OTDA ERAP portal has provided rental assistance to over 2,600 residents and disbursed approximately $17.4 million in aid to people living in the City of Buffalo. BURA’s STANDUP Buffalo program will provide at least an additional $2 million in assistance to income qualifying renters who owe six months or less of unpaid rent. Residents can begin the application process by calling 211. After that initial intake call, they will be referred to one of the following community partners to compile the required documentation and formally submit their application. The following list of non-profit organizations are partnering with the City in this effort:
Brendan Mehaffy, Executive Director of the Office of Strategic Planning, said, “Buffalo has led New York State in providing assistance to renters during the pandemic. Early on the Brown administration created a multi-faceted collaborative strategy that could adapt quickly to the opportunities and challenges presented. With the closure of the NYS ERAP program, the rental assistance network we created has shifted quickly to relaunch the STAND UP Buffalo rental assistance program to assist renters during this critical time of need.”
STAND-UP Buffalo was launched in February of 2021 as a one-stop shop for residents, small business owners, and others to access information concerning the City’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, apply for assistance, and be linked to other resources. People can visit the site at: standupbuffalo.com. Eligible residents may start calling 211 to apply for assistance on Monday, November 29th.