Affordable Housing

Struggling to pay rent or facing eviction? Here are 6 programs that might help

By Austin Havens-Bowen  |
July 26, 2021 - 9:30AM

Voucher levels were raised for CityFHEPS, potentially putting thousands of apartments within reach of renters in the program.


Federal and state eviction bans are set to expire in the coming weeks. If you owe back rent or need assistance paying your rent or fighting an eviction, it’s important to sign up for aid and learn about other support programs now.

Applications for New York’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) are currently being accepted if you’re experiencing hardship because of the pandemic (more about that below). And if you need one-time assistance, there are programs like the city’s One Shot Deal while others provide a long-term solution.

If you are facing eviction, you may have the right to counsel, meaning an attorney may be available to represent you at no cost in housing court. You must be low income and live in specific zip codes within the five boroughs. Households in these areas that earn below 200 percent of the federal poverty line, or less than $25,520 a year for an individual or less than $52,400 for a family of four in NYC, can qualify.

[Editor's note: This article was originally published in July 2020. We are presenting it again with updated information for July 2021.]

Some private charities like Catholic Charities and other affinity groups provide rental assistance and eviction prevention programs, so it's also worth reaching to your community as well to see what's available. For more assistance, here are six state and city programs that might help.

1) New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Applications are being accepted now for the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Renters who qualify for unemployment benefits due to the pandemic, are at risk of being evicted or experiencing housing instability, and have a combined household income less than 80 percent of the area median income are eligible. Some renters will get priority assistance. 

2) One Shot Deal

The city’s One Shot Deal program provides emergency assistance if you cannot pay things like rent or utilities, due to an unexpected situation. Some situations that qualify for the program include risk of homelessness, eviction, and utility shutoff. Keep in mind that you’ll likely have to pay back your assistance. You can find out more and apply by creating an Access HRA account. 

3) City Family Homelessness & Eviction Prevention Supplement

CityFHEPS is a rental assistance supplement to help you keep your apartment. To qualify, your household income must be at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line and meet one of the four criteria. The New York City Council recently passed a bill that increased voucher rates, potentially making an estimated 70,000 apartments accessible to renters in the program. Rates are now $1,945 for an individual and $2,217 for families, in line with city's Section 8 program.

4) Coalition for the Homeless Eviction Prevention

Coalition for the Homeless’s eviction prevention program offers one-time grants of an average of $1,000 to pay your back-rent if you can demonstrate the ability to pay your rent going forward. You must also be in court and have a court stipulation to qualify. To apply, you have to make an appointment by calling their hotline at 212-776-2039 on Wednesday or Friday mornings beginning at 9:30 a.m. 

5) ​​Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption

The Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption program is part of the city’s rent freeze program. SCRIE is available to New Yorkers who are at least 62 or older, are the primary leaseholder of a rent-stabilized or controlled apartment, have a combined household income of less than $50,000, and use at least one-third of their salary on rent. If you’re approved, the city’s Department of Finance will determine if your rent, or one-third of your monthly income, is less and then will freeze your rent at the amount despite future increases through a property tax credit.

6) Disability Rent Increase Exemption

The city’s Disability Rent Increase Exemption program is also part of the city’s rent freeze program. It works the same way but there are slightly different requirements. For this rent freeze program, you must be 18 or older, be the primary leaseholder of a rent-stabilized or controlled apartment, have a combined household income of $50,000 or less, spend more than one-third of your income on rent, and receive federal or state disability income or insurance. You can check out the city’s guide on the rent freeze program for more information.



Austin Havens-Bowen

Staff Writer

Staff writer Austin Havens-Bowen covers the rental market and answers renters' questions in a column called Realty Bites. He previously reported on local news for the Queens Ledger and The Hunts Point Express in the Bronx. He graduated from Hunter College with a BA in media studies. He rents a one-bedroom apartment in Astoria with his boyfriend and their two cats.

Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.