Community

A Mysterious Benefactor Launches a Lifeboat for Cash-Strapped Tarrytown Renters

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June 3, 2020

By Barrett Seaman

It somehow seems appropriate that the donor of $200,000 to be used to support Tarrytown families that can no longer pay their rent should insist on being anonymous. The money is real, however, and starting June 8th it will be available on a first come/first serve basis for up to six months, or until the money runs out.

The Housing Action Council, based in Tarrytown, is managing the distribution of funds. It is intended for renters in the village who have suffered economic hardship resulting from the coronavirus pandemic to the extent that they can no longer meet their monthly payments.

“It’s a simple application,” assures Rose Noonan, Executive Director of the Housing Action Council. Applicants must show evidence of economic loss—a furlough notice or other statement from an erstwhile employer—and a statement of their household budget showing that they no longer have the resources as a result. They must also demonstrate that their rent was paid in full as of the end of February, along with corroboration from their landlord. And they must have an income no greater than $75,500-a-year, regardless of the size of the household.

Not every recipient will get the full monthly rent bill paid by the program. The Council will use the data collected as a needs test in order to assure that they pay out only what is needed to keep them from being evicted. And they will re-evaluate at the end of each month for four months.

There are, says Noonan, other rent support programs available in Westchester County, but they are only good for a single month. It is hoped that this program, which is called the Emergency Rent Assistance program, will stretch out longer over the course of the economic crisis, ideally for the remainder of the year.

Noonan says they plan to get the word out about the availability of these funds through local houses of worship, through other charitable institutions working in the village, and through landlords who have an interest in letting their delinquent tenants know of this new resource.

How long $200,000 will last remains to be seen—even with prudent management. Perhaps this selfless gesture by someone who clearly has no interest in self-promotion will inspire others to refill the coffers in future months, until the community can collectively get back on its feet.

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