Buffalo, NY - As Buffalo, and cities across the state, continue to see a steady rise in COVID-19 cases, Mayor Byron W. Brown reminded Buffalo residents who have lost income due to the COVID-19 global health pandemic, to apply for emergency rent and mortgage relief before the November 15th deadline.
Mayor Brown stated, “We know Buffalo renters and homeowners are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We know people have been laid off, furloughed, or experienced a workplace closure and we don’t want them to miss out on this critical aid. Please apply by the November 15th deadline. We want to make sure we continue to provide support and services where it is most needed.”
Back in September, Mayor Brown joined Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and others to launch the ‘Live Well Erie and City of Buffalo CARES Act Renters and Mortgage Assistance Program’, which will provide temporary rent and mortgage relief to eligible tenants, homeowners and landlords.
Last week, Mayor Brown launched a public awareness blitz, primarily focused in city neighborhoods most impacted by COVID illness and job loss, that resulted in 1,153 new applications to the rent and mortgage assistance program. Up to $10 million in assistance is available from the County’s CARES Act. At this time, the local program can potentially serve an additional 400 plus applicants.
The best way to apply for rent or mortgage assistance is online: www.211wny.org/. If an applicant does not have access to the internet, simply call 211. APPLICANTS HAVE UNTIL NOVEMBER 25, 2020 TO SUBMIT/UPLOAD DOCUMENTS.
If an applicant needs help uploading documents, they can go to the Delavan Grider Community Center, located at 877 E. Delavan, next weekend. Assistance will be available on Saturday, November 21st, from 10 - 2 and Sunday, November 22, from 3-6.
The Live Well Erie Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program will provide a grant of up to $1,500 per month to cover the monthly lease rent/mortgage (based on the rent paid as of March 1, 2020), with a maximum of $3,500 per household. The rent subsidy will be paid directly to the tenant’s landlord on behalf of the tenant. The mortgage subsidy will be paid directly to the lender.
“Extending this critical aid to homeowners and renters is another way we are working to help individuals and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic here in Erie County,” Poloncarz said. “The virus’ impacts have been felt countywide and across every sector, so, just as we have acted to help school districts, businesses, children and caregivers, we are acting today to help working families and individuals keep a roof over their heads. We are addressing this need as a community, and I thank Mayor Brown, Clerk Kearns, 211 WNY and HAWNY for aiding in this effort.”
This program will be available to renters and homeowners who meet the following eligibility criteria:
√ Must be residents of Erie County;
√ Residents must provide proof of tenancy or mortgage;
√ Household annual income must be at or below 85% of state median income (SMI) level prior to the COVID-19 crisis; and
√ Households must provide documentation of loss or reduction of income due to COVID-19 after March 16.
Household size, maximum annual income
Funding provided to households must be utilized for households that are currently behind in rent or mortgage payments. Households must be low or moderate-income (85% of state median income) prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and must currently reside within Erie County. All services and assistance will be provided on a temporary basis only. A maximum of five months’ rent/mortgage can be offered as financial assistance to approved, qualified households/families. Leveraging of other funding sources is possible as long as the assistance does not exceed the amount in arrears or duplicate funding source.
The rental properties seeking assistance can only be used for residential use in accordance with local regulations. If the renter/homeowner or landlord/mortgage company provides false information to Erie County or its designee, they will not be qualified for the assistance and will be required to repay the assistance. The eligibility determination organization or its designee has the final say/decision in all matters/situations pertaining to this program. The program regulations can be changed at any time throughout the grant year due to reasons of funding or program need. In addition, the entire program may be withdrawn and/or changed by Erie County for any reason, including reasons of funding or program effect.