The YWCA of the Niagara Frontier is one of the Community Based Organizations available to assist renters and landlords with the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). We are able to assist by:
- Providing the technology needed at our Lockport location to renters/landlords to complete the application process (laptop, Internet connection, scanner, etc.).
- Walking renters through the online form to ensure they accurately complete the application and upload necessary documents on site.
- Scanning and uploading documents to an already completed application.
- Providing clarification or answers to any questions before, during, and after the application process. If we are unable to answer the questions we will direct you to someone who can.
Call us at 716-433-6714 to make an appointment! We will walk you through the documentation needed for the appointment to complete the application.
This information was pulled from the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance website about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Visit their website for more details about the program and other organizations who can assist with the application process.
The New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) assists low and moderate-income households at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability by providing rental arrears, temporary rental assistance and utility arrears assistance.
New York residents are eligible for ERAP if they meet all of the following criteria:
- Household gross income is at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). These income limits differ by county and household size. A household may qualify based on current income or calendar year 2020 income that is at or below 80 percent AMI.
- On or after March 13, 2020, a member of the household 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.
- The applicant is obligated to pay rent at their primary residence and has rental arrears (rent overdue) at their current residence for rent owed on or after March 13, 2020.
- The household must be at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, which can be demonstrated by having rental arrears owed on or after March 13, 2020.
Households eligible for rental arrears may also be eligible for help paying utility arrears at the same rental unit.
Households approved for ERAP may receive:
- Up to 12 months of rental arrears payments for rents accrued on or after March 13, 2020.
- Up to 3 months of additional rental assistance if the household is expected to spend 30 percent or more of their gross monthly income to pay for rent.
- Up to 12 months of electric or gas utility arrears payments for arrears that have accrued on or after March 13, 2020.
Payments will be made directly to the landlord/property owner and utility company on behalf of the tenant. Tenant applicants will be notified of the amounts paid on their behalf.
Documents you will need to apply when the program is open:
Renters will need to provide:
- Personal identification for all household members. Acceptable forms of identification include: A photo ID, driver license or non-driver government-issued ID, passport, EBT/Benefits Issuance Card, birth or baptismal certificate, school registration.
- Social Security number of any household members who have been issued one. Individuals do not need to have a lawful immigration status to qualify for the program.
- Proof of rental amount, signed lease, even if expired. If no lease is available then proof can be shown through a rent receipt, canceled check or money order. If no documentation is available, landlord attestation will be accepted.
- Proof of residency and occupancy – Signed lease, rent receipt, utility bill, school records, bank statement, postal mail with name of applicant, insurance bill, or driver license. Proof should be current.
- Proof of Income to document income eligibility:
- Documents demonstrating monthly income for the prior month, such as pay stubs, bank account deposit verification, unemployment benefits letter, or other proof;
- Documents demonstrating annual income for 2020, such as a W-2 tax form from an employer, an annual statement of earnings, or a copy of a completed income tax return, such as a 1040, 1040EZ, 1099 tax form, or other evidence of 2020 annual income.
- Self-attestation of income is permitted in certain circumstances where no documentation is available such as certain self-employment.
- Copy of gas or electric utility bill, if applying for help paying for utility arrears at the same rental unit.
Applicants will be asked to attest that on or after March 13, 2020, a member of the household received unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experienced other financial hardship, directly or indirectly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The applicant will need to sign the application form and associated certifications agreeing that the information provided in the application is accurate.
Landlords and property owners will need to provide:
- Completed W-9 tax form.
- Executed lease with tenant applicant, or if there is no written lease, a cancelled check, evidence of funds transfer or other documentation of the last full monthly rent payment.
- Documentation of rent due from tenant (e.g. ledger, etc.) or attestation on application.
- Banking information to receive direct deposit payment.
The property owner or an authorized property management company will be required to sign the application form and associated certifications agreeing that the information provided, including the amount of rental arrears owed, is accurate and does not duplicate a payment received from another program.
The property owner or authorized property management company must also agree to the following terms as a condition of accepting rental arrears payments:
- The ERAP payment satisfies the tenant’s full rental obligations for the time period covered by the payment.
- Waive any late fees due on any rental arrears covered by the ERAP payment.
- Not increase the monthly rental amount above the monthly amount due at the time of application for ERAP assistance for months for which rental assistance is received and for one year from receipt of the ERAP payment.
- Not evict the household on behalf of whom the ERAP payment is made for reason of expired lease or holdover tenancy for one year from the receipt of the ERAP payment. An exception to this requirement shall be made if the dwelling unit contains four or fewer units and the property owner or owner’s immediate family members intend to immediately occupy the unit for use as a primary residence.