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NEW YORK — Over 500,000 New York City households are behind on their rent, according to the University of Southern California’s National Equity Atlas.

Their researchers estimate city tenants owe a total of $2.2 billion in rent debt. 

“People are struggling,” explained State Sen. Michael Gianaris. 

Two pandemic protections helped keep New Yorkers in their home but will likely be ending soon. The national eviction moratorium set up by the Centers for Disease for Disease Control and Prevention expires on July 3. New York State’s eviction pause ends on Aug. 31. 

“I think Aug. 31 was as far as we could push the governor and other parties to extend it,” said Sen. Gianaris

New York State has a $2.7 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program. This week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would streamline the application process and lower documentation requirements. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer previously criticized the program for not reaching enough renters in need.