New York City's emergency assistance program—called the One-Shot Deal—is meant to help renters avoid eviction due to nonpayment. But with the city's current moratorium on eviction, some locals support the idea of using the program to help renters who are out of work due to the pandemic. Here's what you should know about this movement to expand the One-Shot Deal program to renters who normally wouldn't qualify to get help.
How Does the Housing Fund Work?
The One-Shot Deal is an emergency assistance program that's currently worth about $200 million. Since 2014, it's helped about 250,000 New Yorkers avoid eviction when they couldn't pay their rent temporarily. Anyone wanting help from the fund has to send in an application to be considered, showing why they can't pay their rent right now and providing proof that they can pay in the future.
This typically means anyone who doesn't have a job won't qualify, as they can't prove they can pay their rent any time soon. This means the approximately 200,000 New Yorkers who are out of work due to COVID-19 wouldn't qualify for rent assistance. But some people are trying to change that.
Program Changes in the Wake of the Pandemic
Just one person who supports expanding access to this program is Councilman Chaim Deutsch from Brooklyn, who is creating legislation in the hopes of changing who qualifies. His reasoning is that this could be an investment that actually saves the city money because it could prevent increased homelessness and poverty among people who can't afford rent right now.
In addition, it could reduce the number of people who have to apply for government assistance, while also protecting their credit from the damage an eviction often does. Considering that bad credit can keep people from finding housing in the future, it may be better overall to allow the One-Shot Deal to help them stay in their home for now.
Another supporter of the plan to expand this program is Jay Martin, who is the director of the Community Housing Improvement Program representing over 4,000 property owners of rent-stabilized housing. His reasoning is that offering help to unemployed tenants could improve the chances of them being able to stay in their current homes and avoid having to go to housing court. This, in turn, would help landlords, as they can continue collecting rent rather than spending time and money trying to evict tenants who can't pay due to COVID-19.
It's not certain yet if the One-Shot Deal program will be approved to help people who lost their jobs due to the virus. But if you're thinking about applying for it because you can't pay rent and you're worried about being evicted from your home in NYC any time soon, it's a good idea to keep an eye on how this program evolves to help people in your situation. And if you have any questions about the eviction process or need assistance with other landlord/tenant issues, contact a New York real estate attorney today to learn your options.