The Town of Huntington has been awarded $5.9 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury to go toward a new outreach program called the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
The grand opening of the new center took place Aug. 20 in Greenlawn. The program’s purpose is to provide economic relief to help low and moderate-income households who are at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
“The funds can pay for 12 months of past-due residential rent for some households, up to three months in future rent and up to 12 months of overdue electric or gas utility bills,” said town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R).
All payments would go directly to the landlord or the utility provider. By partnering with Housing Help, trained specialists will be available to answer questions about the program and assist anyone who needs help filling out an application form.
“Help is available even if you have no lease, no pay stubs and regardless of immigration status,” Lupinacci said.
With evictions on the rise and rent going up in price, housing instability for tenants and landlords has become an extensive issue. Landlords are encouraged to fill out an online application form or visit the new ERAP center in person to work out a solution for their tenants’ overdue rent.
“This program has been a blessing to the residents,” said Leah Jefferson, director of the Huntington Community Development Agency and Economic Development Corporation. “We have received over 300 applications to date. However, we do anticipate receiving a much larger number of applications in the coming few weeks.”
The center is located at 95 Broadway in Greenlawn. Even so, James Calero, director of St. Hugh of Lincoln Outreach, has worked with Housing Help to provide a satellite office in Huntington Station for ERAP appointments as well.
This closer location will make it easier for local residents to travel to, or meetings can also be set up as a video conference.
“For those people who might not have transportation and are not able to get to the Greenlawn center, please give us a call, we’ll be happy to set up an appointment and we will meet with you,” said Pilar Moya-Mancera, executive director of Housing Help.
The Housing Help board members expressed their gratitude for the creation of this new program and for Moya-Mancera, who has a passion for community activism and has aided town residents.
“I like to say this is like Christmas in August for our community, and it’s something that we needed for a while,” said Guillermo Perez, a Housing Help board member. “It’s an honor to be a part of this, and I want to thank Pilar. She is like an octopus; her hands are everywhere — she covers all of Long Island and is a blessing to us.”