The top Democratic lawmakers in the state Senate and Assembly on Thursday urged President Joe Biden's administration to approve nearly $1 billion in additional emergency rent relief funds for New York. 

The state is seeking $996 million in aid from the federal government after having already distributed more than $1 billion in support to more than 81,000 landlords. 

"While the State‚Äôs Emergency Rental Assistance Program has been instrumental in providing relief to New York renters and their landlords to date, the scope o fneed across the State will exhaust the original $2.6 billion federal allocation," wrote Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie in a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. "Many New Yorkers who would otherwise be eligible for federal assistance will not receive financial relief unless additional funds are authorized."

State lawmakers and and Gov. Kathy Hochul in August agreed to an extension of the state's moratorium on pandemic-related evictions until Jan. 15. But as rents, especially in New York City, have risen in the last several weeks, lawmakers are worried a crisis over affordable housing could get worse. 

"At least half a million tenants in New York City alone were or are in rent arrears due to the financial challenges caused by the pandemic," the lawmakers wrote. "While federal COVID-19 relief has lifted many tenants out of crisis, hundreds of thousands of tenants continue to face significant rent debt across the state. Those households are at high risk of housing instability."