As Capital Tonight has reported, neither tenants nor landlords are feeling optimistic about the state’s rent relief act. The fund originally had $100 million in federal money attached to it that needs to be spent by the end of the year. $60 million has yet to be allocated, and the clock is ticking.

According to Senator Zellnor Myrie, who sponsors “The Emergency Housing Stability and Tenant Displacement Prevention Act” (S.8667/A.10827), the administration is still working on an executive order, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo promised about 10 days ago.

“My understanding is that the governor’s office is working on trying to get this money out the door. The legislature passed this relief with the hopes that it would get to the people that needed it this most,” Myrie told Capital Tonight.

The problem with the enabling legislation is that the criteria to apply for the money was too stringent, and the time-frame for applying too narrow.

With only weeks left until the deadline, an executive order had appeared necessary to get the funding out the door in time.

On the related issues of an eviction moratorium and rent relief, Myrie is convinced that if landlords and tenants work together, they could muscle through a deal that would force either private equity or the mortgage industry to help pay for back rent. 

“There are big banks, the mortgage industry, private equity that have done very well during this pandemic, and there’s an opportunity to have landlords and tenants to band together and say, ‘let’s get the money,’” Myrie said.

As chair of the state Senate Elections Committee, Senator Myrie also commented on the ongoing vote count in NY-22.

“I think we can imagine a scenario in which the House majority depended on the outcome of this race. What a center of scandal New York would be if that were the situation,” he said. “I think that those problems with NY-22, along with what we’ve seen across the state really should motivate the legislature to come back to elections and demonstrate that we are hearing the voters and delivering a world class democracy for them.”

Myrie says he intends to hold hearing on the issue next session.