Governor Hochul: “We set aside $400 million to help with emergency rental assistance for you. We’ve been giving this out for the last six months. Already today, I'm here to announce $95 million in payments have already gone out to residents benefiting over 15,000 households.”
Hochul: “We are asserting that we're taking charge here. We're bringing money to the table with Washington, the City and the State working on your behalf. I won't walk away until every single one of you has a home that you're proud of, where everything works. And I will continue thanking you for all your advocacy. […] you care enough not just about yourselves, about your neighbors too and your community. And I want you to know your voices have broken through. We heard you. We're going to continue to hear you.”
Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that the New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program has started distributing nearly $95 million to cover rental arrears for nearly 15,000 New York City Housing Authority residents. This milestone was achieved within the first six months after this funding was passed in the FY24 Enacted Budget. The $95 million for New York City Housing Authority tenants is part of the more than $350 million investment in public housing and Section 8 residents secured by Governor Hochul and the Legislature in the FY24 Enacted Budget.
AUDIO of the Governor's remarks is available here.
PHOTOS of the event will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:
A lot of excitement in this room. We're here for one reason. NYCHA residents and families matter. That's why we're here. Stand up and give yourselves a round of applause. We're here because you matter. Thank you. NYCHA families. All right.
I love you guys. All right. Let's talk a little bit about history here, right? Three and a half years after the pandemic, most of New York has bounced back, right? Most of New York's doing pretty good. The MTA is setting ridership records, and people are taking the subway, we hit one billion riders, that's great.
Businesses are doing well — restaurants, Broadway, museums, music venues, they're all packed. But you know what? For countless New Yorkers who live in public housing, they still live in uncertainty and the instability caused by the pandemic because it's never really gone away. They're working so hard to make ends meet.
A lot of people lost their jobs. People in healthcare and other jobs they just lost them. And you know what's the worst of all? The rent payments started piling up and piling up and creating enormous stress on people. And living conditions didn't get better. They got worse. And that's why we're here today. We're going to give you rental assistance to the New Yorkers who need it the most.
And we're going to continue our commitment to improving and reforming our public housing system so every person gets the dignity they deserve. That's not abstract. That's the reality. And as Governor for just two years, we've already committed over $1 billion to NYCHA. And I want to thank all the individuals who are here, who are so committed to this.
My partner, Eric Adams, who's worked hard to make sure that NYCHA residents get what they deserve. Nydia Velázquez, a champion of funding from Washington, Nydia Velázquez. Brian Kavanagh, the Senator who's the Chair of the Housing Committee. Thank you, Brian. Linda Rosenthal also the Chair of the Assembly Housing Committee. Grace Lee, we're in your district. Thank you for all you do. Another great champion. Eddie Gibbs, Assemblymember, is one of the sponsors of this. Thank you, Eddie Gibbs. Let's give him a round of applause. And all our elected officials here today were recognized earlier. I want to thank all of them because they believe in you. They think you deserve better, and so do I. And I want to thank the CEO of NYCHA. Lisa Bova-Hiatt. Thank you. Thank you, thank you. Barbara Guinn, our Acting Commissioner. And of course, the one and only, our friend Danny Barber, one of the greatest champions, Danny, Citywide Council of Presidents.
Now, this place where we are today has been here for 130 years. It was. Host to a lot of firsts. One of the first playgrounds ever in New York City was right here. This place was the home to the very first public school nurse in New York City. Lots of national historic buildings. This settlement is an important part of New York's history. But today, we talk about how that history continues. With real optimism and hope for a better future for hundreds of thousands of our public housing residents. And today, we're making clear two commitments. First, we're going to support the tens of thousands of New Yorkers who were hard hit by the pandemic and never got the support they needed. We need you to have meaningful rental assistance to help with your back rent. Assist with utility bills. Utility bills keep going up and up, and you need help. And most importantly, to help people stay in their homes.
And secondly, we're going to continue making sweeping, far-reaching investments overall into our public housing system because for so long, people have said, no, it doesn't matter. Their voices don't matter. They're almost unseen, right? I feel like people aren't paying attention. And there's a legacy of disinvestment that we're going to start changing. Let's start with rental assistance. Now I say, why does this matter so much? You've got enough stress in life, right? The bills pile up. And this is usually one of the bigger ones. And I said, we need to help you with that right now, whether you're a single mom who lost your job or you might've had to bury someone during COVID and wiped out all your savings, dip into savings to cover all kinds of things. You know, these are not just numbers on a spreadsheet. These are real lives. And you get up in the morning just wonder, how am I going to get through the day? We're here to help you because you shouldn't have to struggle like that because you matter just like everybody else. It doesn't matter where you live, because you matter. Let’s you start fresh. Start fresh today. Don't have to worry about this.
We set aside $400 million to help with emergency rental assistance for you. We’ve been giving this out for the last six months. Already today, I'm here to announce $95 million in payments have already gone out to residents benefiting over 15,000 households. That's what I call a good start. $35 million going directly – we're going to, we're going to keep it coming. And it wasn't a given because you were originally left out of that program, remember? You're like, “What about us? What about us?” And you were written out of the program. And you would not have received any of these funds.
But we worked together – your legislators, your representatives. We said, “No, it's not okay.” They didn't do anything wrong. They didn't bring on the pandemic. They didn't try to get behind on their rent. For God's sakes, give them a break. So, we're going to start giving you that break. And now you can have a little more peace of mind. Not to have such worry. But the systemic disenfranchisement, which means you're left out of the process, is nothing new. You know, leaders have just gotten used to it decades past. It's alright, don't worry, they don't have a big political voice. Except you do. Except you do, and the people in this room listen to you. You know, a lot of people just say, “Well, these problems are so big, they're so expensive to fix. We’ll just kick the can down the road, you know, let other people deal with it. You know, even, let's let the next governor deal with it.” Well, guess what? I'm the next Governor and I'm going to deal with it.
Last year I signed a bill establishing the Public Housing Preservation Trust. Worked with Nydia Velázquez, worked with all your leaders. That allowed billions of dollars to flow into much needed repairs and improvements. People said it was impossible. No, no, no, it's too complicated. We can't get it done. Yes, we can, and we did. And we worked together with the tenants. We worked with all of you. And there's $50 million now committed to help people facing eviction. And we've expanded the tenant protection units all over the State of New York. And last January, I partnered with Mayor Eric Adams and NYCHA to deliver $300 million to replace all those broken elevators and all the broken things that were so frustrating for you, including 10 at the Rutgers Houses just down the street. We secured over $1.2 billion to make vital capital repairs. You know it needed to get fixed. You told me all about it. I heard all about it. We talked about the pipes, and the water, and the quality of life in your homes.
And I tell you this: It's our job to let you know you are valued, that you matter to all of us. And I'm going to continue focusing on that, whether it's fixing elevators, making sure you have heat in the wintertime. It's getting cold again, right? Why should anyone be cold and suffer? Why should you have to be so hot in the summertime? Why do the hallway lights flicker on and off? Why are public spaces left dirty? And sometimes you can't even turn the damn shower on in the morning. It's cold water. That's cold water. No one should live in such appalling conditions in the greatest city on earth. Absolutely not. You should not have to live like that.
So now, we are asserting that we're taking charge here. We're bringing money to the table with Washington, the City and the State working on your behalf. I won't walk away until every single one of you has a home that you're proud of, where everything works. And I will continue thanking you for all your advocacy. You get up to Albany. You're traveling around. You're fighting and fighting and fighting. You got your own lives to lead, right? But you care enough not just about yourselves, about your neighbors too and your community. And I want you to know your voices have broken through. We heard you. We're going to continue to hear you.
And this is a new beginning. And I thank all of you for being champions for the people, and I'll be there right alongside every single one of you. Congratulations, everybody. It's a great day. Thank you. And with that, let me bring up Mayor Adams, another person strongly committed to our friends who live in NYCHA.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mayor Adams.