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July 31, 2021

United Way to Help with Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) Applications

United Way of Westchester and Putnam (UWWP) has partnered with the City of Mount Vernon to aid with New York State’s ERAP applications. 

An informational fair is being held in the Mt. Vernon Public Library, located on 28 S 1st Ave, on July 31st from 9am-1pm to provide information on the application process. Afterwards, eligible residents will be able to call United Way’s 211 hotline to schedule a sit-down appointment with a trained volunteer who will assist with the application. 

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program was formed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of families nationwide fell behind on their rent and are now facing eviction and homelessness. ERAP allows eligible families to apply for rental assistance worth up to 12 months of unpaid rent, and an additional 3 months of future rent in certain circumstances. Assistance is also available for up to 12 months of unpaid utilities. Eligible families include those who make 80% or less of the area’s median income, have suffered hardship due to the pandemic, have accrued rental arrears, and are at risk for housing instability or homelessness. 

Programs like ERAP are especially needed in Westchester County. With thousands of families struggling to pay rent, and the eviction moratorium due to expire on August 31st, this program could not have come at a more fitting time. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic many people lost their jobs and have not been able to afford basic needs like food and rent. The government instituted a moratorium on evictions in recognition of these circumstances. Even though these people may be working again, many of them will not be able to make up the rent that they have missed. The purpose of ERAP is to erase the past debt so that families can concentrate on the future.

“In Mount Vernon nearly 1500 families are facing eviction as moratoriums are set to expire,” said Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard.  “There are resources available to help these families and those who are precariously perched on the verge of homelessness. It is imperative that residents who are in need of assistance show up. I urge Mount Vernon residents take full advantage of these opportunities and I am glad to work with partners like the United Way to ensure that they do.”

United Way of Westchester and Putnam will be recruiting volunteers through Volunteer New York and existing UWWP volunteers. Volunteers will assist eligible residents in completing their applications and scanning and uploading required documents. Volunteers will be trained and will undergo background checks in advance.

“Without stable housing, individuals and families are put at risk, which impacts the larger community. We are proud to partner with the City of Mount Vernon to ensure that those who were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic stay in their homes so they can thrive.” said Tom Gabriel, president and CEO of United Way of Westchester and Putnam.

To schedule an appointment with a volunteer visit www.211hudsonvalley.org/erap

More information on ERAP can be found on the Office of Temporary Disability Assistance’s website: https://otda.ny.gov/programs/emergency-rental-assistance/. Information can also be found on Mt Vernon’s Department of Planning website.