NEW YORK (PIX11) — Advocacy groups are pushing for New York state to give millions of dollars to thousands of NYCHA residents struggling to pay their rent. A total of $454 million in rent money is owed across 73,028 households in NYCHA.

Marisa Reed is the housing resource coordinator at the Red Hook Community Justice Center. They help residents with their rent, lease and repair issues. So far, out of hundreds of applications for rental assistance, she hasn’t heard any updates.

Betty Bernhart is an outreach worker with the Red Hook Initiative and blames the state for the housing crisis. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program, also known as ERAP, has been closed to new applications since January. Bernhart said NYCHA residents are the last to get funds and worries money will run out.  

A spokesperson for Go. Kathy Hochul’s office told PIX11 News:

“Governor Hochul remains committed to ensuring that all NYCHA residents have access to safe, stable housing. The Governor worked with the legislature to secure $350 million in NYCHA funding as part of last year’s Enacted Budget, announced a $300 million funding agreement to upgrade elevators at 20 NYCHA facilities, and signed legislation to create the New York City Public Housing Preservation Trust to repair and modernize NYCHA apartments. The Governor will continue to work with local, state, and federal leaders to ensure that New York’s public housing meets the needs of residents.” 

A NYCHA spokesperson told PIX11 News:

“Tenant rent arrears are $454 million across 73,028 households. ERAP applications were closed on January 20th, 2023. While we cannot speculate on the impact that rent arrears may have on repairs, we have taken several proactive financial measures for the 2023 proposed budget and continue to prioritize the HUD Agreement pillar areas to ensure safe and stable housing for NYCHA residents. We are continuing to work with our partners across all levels of government to identify solutions for addressing this shortfall.”