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Housing Supports

Homelessness Response/ Emergency Shelter

Anyone who is at imminent risk of losing their housing, or who finds themselves without housing can contact 2-1-1 for help finding resources related to your housing search, emergency food options, and more.  If you are in need of immediate help and/or emergency shelter options, please contact Monroe County DHS at 585-753-6044, or 585-442-1742 after hours.

 

Renter Support 

Evictions are currently being processed by local Courts, but, depending on your situation, you may be protected from eviction for the time being. However, all rent payments during this timeframe are still due as normal and unpaid rent will still be held against the tenant once the moratorium expires, including in eviction court. Tenants are strongly advised to continue to pay their landlord their monthly rent payments if possible. All tenants are able to receive assistance from the Tenant Defense Project dealing with their landlord. For information on your rights and responsibilities, call The Housing Council at 585-546-3700 (or visit thehousingcouncil.org), or call 2-1-1.

At this time, a New York State moratorium and Centers for Disease Control moratorium are still in effect, but these do not apply to all renter households.  In general, a tenant will need to prove to a judge they are behind on rent because of the pandemic, due to either a loss of income or an increase in COVID expenses.  You should not assume that you qualify for protection under the various moratoria, but can inquire about which protections may be available to you by calling the Tenant Defense Project/Right to Counsel Pilot Program at 585-504-6195, or visiting tenantdefense.org.  In addition, those tenants facing financial hardship can request to use their security deposit to pay rent and repay the security deposit over time. More information is available here.

We understand that financial situations have changed, jobs have been furloughed or lost, and some may need assistance to help them through this period of time.  There are services available to anyone who is struggling to make rent or utility payments, facing eviction, or simply wants information on what their options are.  However, support is not guaranteed, and access to resources may depend on an individual’s particular housing situation.

  

In general, anyone behind on rent or struggling to pay should:

  • Make a Plan – Make a budget and figure out how much you can pay, and when. For assistance, contact the Rochester Financial Empowerment Center at 585-252-7110.

  • Seek out Resources – Apply for benefits (DHS), and/or search for employment.

  • Stay in Contact and Advocate for Yourself – Talk to your landlord, explain your situation and your plan, and negotiate/ask for time to pay or a payment plan.

 

Eviction Prevention & Rent Arrears Assistance

  • For those that are behind on rent, worried about eviction due to non-payment, and have received a 14 Day Notice to Pay or Quit or a Notice to Vacate, assistance may be available to you.  You should call 2-1-1/Lifeline or chat on 211lifeline.org to explore eligibility and start an application for financial assistance.  In addition to the City funded initiatives, Monroe County has funded programs to provide rental arrears assistance to those that qualify.  To make the intake, eligibility, and application process easier, all applicants should apply through 2-1-1/Lifeline.  You will be matched with resources that you qualify for.

  • In May and June, City Council approved over $2 million for an eviction prevention program administered by Catholic Family Center to provide emergency rent arrears payments and/or security deposit assistance for income-eligible tenants before they truly become homeless. This legislation dedicated an additional $2.1 million to a flexible fund that will be used to augment this program, based on the anticipated demand for assistance. About $1 million is already dedicated to more traditional homeless services and shelter operations. To learn more about how this program can help you, click here or call 2-1-1.

 

Legal Guidance and Assistance 

  • If an eviction has already been filed and you have a court date set, you may still have access to the resources listed above, and we recommend that you continue to try to secure resources and stay in contact with any services or supports you have engaged.  If you receive a notice from your landlord or from Court, do not ignore it.  Follow up with any instructions on that notice. You can seek answers for any legal questions you may have by calling 585-504-6195 or visiting tenantdefense.org. The City works with LawNY and the Legal Aid Society to help provide guidance and representation to those going through the eviction process. 

  •  In May and June, City Council approved the use of $460,000 to fund a “Right to Counsel” pilot program to provide free legal assistance to all renters facing evictions proceedings in the courts, as well as a telephone hotline providing free legal counsel for eviction-related questions. The program will be operated by Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County, Inc.; The Legal Aid Society of Rochester; and Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. Funding is also being provided by Monroe County. To learn more, contact 585-504-6195 or visit tenantdefense.org.

 

Landlord Support 

  • Landlord Rehab Grant Program: The City has allocated $300,000 it received in additional CDBG funding via the CARES act to provide grants to landlords to prepare vacant units to rent them to tenants at defined affordable rents. Applications for the grant can be found at: cityofrochester.gov/HomeRepairGrants

  • For assistance with tenant disputes or other issues, please call the Housing Council hotline at 585-546-3700, between the hours of 9AM and 1PM to speak to a Housing Counselor or visit thehousingcouncil.org/contact 

  • Please note that Landlords may be eligible for small business grant and loan programs listed in the resources section of this website

Homeowner Support 

  • Emergency Assistance Program Grants: The City has allocated an additional $100,000 it received in CDBG funding through the CARES act to its existing Emergency Assistance Program which provides grants to income-eligible homeowners for emergency issues such as broken furnace or boiler, and other health and safety hazards. For more information please see: cityofrochester.gov/HomeRepairGrants/ 

  • Foreclosure Prevention: Homeowners not yet in foreclosure but facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 are advised to contact their mortgage servicer as early as possible, either with or without assistance from The Housing Council.  Most mortgage servicers are offering relief to homeowners. Some options include short-term “forbearances” during which payments are paused, to be repaid later. Others include long-term changes to mortgage terms. Some homeowners will benefit from a combination of short- and long-term options. Please visit this page for more information. 

  • Mortgage Relief: The Housing Council and Empire Justice Center have been providing assistance for decades to homeowners behind (or about to be behind) in their mortgage payments. Their services are free and confidential. Contact The Housing Council at 585-546-3700 x3036 or through their website here and they can assist with a good path forward.

  • Apply for Tax Agreements: The City offers property owners facing financial hardship the ability to pay taxes in installments. To access this option, please fill out an application and provide a few simple documents outlined in the application’s instructions. Please see the Tax Agreement program page here on the City website for more information. 

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