Rental and Mortgage Assistance Available During COVID 19


The Live Well Erie and City of Buffalo CARES Act Renters and Mortgage Assistance Program will provide temporary rent and mortgage assistance to individuals who were unable to pay their rent or mortgage due to circumstances related to the pandemic. These circumstances include being laid off, furloughed, workplace closure, having a wage earner unable to work due to contracting COVID-19 or being the primary caregiver of someone who contracted COVID- 19. The emergency rental/mortgage assistance will be available to cover up to 5 months of rent/mortgage payments and a maximum of $ 3,500 for households that qualify.

The Live Well Erie Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program will provide a grant of up to $1,500 per month to cover the monthly lease rent/mortgage (based on the rent paid as of March 1, 2020), with a maximum of $3,500 per household. The rent subsidy will be paid directly to the tenant’s

landlord on behalf of the tenant. The mortgage subsidy will be paid directly to the mortgage holder.

In order to qualify, renters and homeowners must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  1. Must be residents of ErieCounty
  2. Residents must provide proof of tenancy or mortgage
  3. Household annual income must be at or below 85% of State Median

    Income (SMI) level prior to the COVID-19 crisis, and

  4. Households must provide documentation of loss or reduction of income

    due to COVID-19 after March 16, 2020. Income Guidelines:

Household Size

1 2 3 4 5

6 7

8 or more

Maximum Annual Income

$42,405 $55,453 $68,501 $81,549 $94,597 $107,645 $110,091


“This has been an effort that has been shaped by a cross section of community providers including legal advocates, housing advocates, faith leaders,

municipalities, foundations, the University of Buffalo, housing service providers, andmore,allworkinginconjunctionwiththeLiveWell ErieEmergencyHousing Taskforce,” said Commissioner of Social Services Marie Cannon. “We have been working diligently to enhance eviction diversion strategies, develop a centralized intake system and provide financial assistance to families impacted by COVID-19, and our team approach will benefit the entire community.”

Funding provided must be utilized for households that are currently behind in rent or mortgage payments and will face eviction when the moratorium on evictions is lifted. Households must be low- or moderate-income (85% of State Median Income) prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and must currently reside within Erie County. All services and assistance will be provided on a temporary basis only. A maximum of five (5) months’ rent/mortgage can be offered as financial assistance to approved, qualified households/families. Leveraging of other funding sources is possible as long as the assistance does not exceed the amount in arrears or duplicate funding source.

The rental properties seeking assistance can only be used for residential use in accordance with local regulations. If the renter/home owner or landlord/mortgage company provides false information to Erie County or its designee, they will not be qualified for the assistance and will be required to repay the assistance. The eligibility determination organization or its designee has the final say/decision in all matters/situations pertaining to this program. The program regulations can be changed at any time throughout the grant year due to reasons of funding or program need. In addition, the entire program may be withdrawn and/or changed by the Erie County for any reason, including reasons of funding or program effect.

How to Apply for Assistance:

Apply online at All documents can be uploaded to the website. If you do not have access to the internet, call 211 for screening and assessment.

You will be assigned to an agency that will conduct an interview and collect all required documentation, if you are not able to submit online.

Before contacting 211 by phone or through their website, please have answers to the following questions:

  • Does your household income qualify based on this year’s gross yearly income? (The Federal Government’s unemployment pay of $600 per week is not considered as part of your income, but the state unemployment payments are). Please see income guidelines above for income limits per household size.
  • Have any of your household members become unemployed or under- employed as result of the COVID-19 Pandemic?
  • Are you at risk of being evicted once the moratorium on eviction is lifted because of the COVID-19 Pandemic? (i.e. already missed or about to miss rent/mortgage payments and face eviction)Rental

Federal, State and local Governments have announced similar programs  all over the country. Check with your local housing agencies.

For information in New York State:

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