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Emergency Rental, Utility Assistance Available for County Renters Affected by COVID-19
State program seeks to keep residents in housing amid pandemic

Published: 6/3/2021

Poughkeepsie, NY … The Dutchess County Department of Community and Family Services (DCFS) encourages low- and moderate-income County residents having difficulty paying rent or utility bills as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to seek assistance through the New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).

The state’s ERAP assists households that have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19, are behind on their rent and at risk of homelessness or housing instability. In addition, the program can provide temporary rental assistance and assistance with unpaid utility bills.

DCFS Commissioner Sabrina Jaar-Marzouka said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected so many of our most vulnerable residents, but assistance remains accessible to help keep residents in need stay in their homes. We urge those who seek assistance to take advantage of all available options to shore up their housing stability.”

Residents must meet all the following criteria to be eligible for the ERAP:

  • Household gross income at or below 80 percent of area median income, which varies by county and household size;
  • A member of the household has received unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in income, incurred significant costs or experienced financial hardship, directly or indirectly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and 
  • The applicant owes past-due rent at their current residence.

 ERAP assistance can pay up to 12 months of past-due rent, and, for some households, up to three months for future rent. The program can also pay for up to 12 months of overdue electric or gas bills. Payments will always be issued directly to the landlord or utility provider

Additional information about the ERAP is available on the DCFS webpage, the state’s website, or by calling (844) 691-7368. An application is available online – applicants are urged to use Google Chrome to access the application for best connection – and landlords are encouraged to assist their eligible tenants in applying for ERAP assistance.

The County has selected two local community organizations to facilitate local applicants, including those who experience difficulty connecting to the state’s website:

Community Action Partnership for Dutchess County
Phone: 845-452-5104

Hudson River Housing
Phone: 845-337-4407, extension 402

Applicants with connectivity issues can also call 844-691-7368 create a ticket for a New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance housing case specialist to correspond with them. Hearing impaired residents can utilize TTY services by calling 1-833-843-8829.

There are no immigration status requirements to qualify for the ERAP. Applicants must sign an application form and associated certifications, agreeing that the information provided in the application is accurate.

In April, County Executive Marc Molinaro and City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison announced $1.1 million in emergency rental and utility relief was available for income-eligible households adversely affected by the pandemic.