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Community Development Housing Assistance Programs /  Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Town of Amherst Emergency Rental Assistance
Program Information and Guidelines

Primary Purpose of the Program:

To assist low income households that are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The household must have been low income before the COVID-19 crisis occurred. Priority will be given to households that became unemployed due to the pandemic. Due to the funding source for this program, assistance will be provided to households who are most likely to achieve and maintain stable housing once they have been assisted by the program. Temporary rental assistance for up to 3 months and a limit of $3,000.00 will be given to households that qualify.

Income Guidelines:

Household Size Maximum Annual Income
1 $32,640
2 $37,260
3 $41,940
4 $46,560
5 $50,340
6 $54,060
7 $57,780
8 or more $61,500

Low income-60% of Area Median Income (as of July 1, 2020):

Definitions:

At - Risk of Becoming Homeless:

  1. Household has received notice that they will be evicted within the next two weeks.
  2. Household has experienced a sudden and significant loss of all income.
  3. Household has experienced a sudden and significant increase in their utility payments to the point where they can no longer afford them.

Homeless:

  1. Living on the street, car, park, sidewalk, or abandoned building.
  2. Living in an emergency shelter.
  3. Is being evicted within a week from a private dwelling.
  4. Is being discharged from an institution without having anywhere to go/reside.
  5. Is fleeing existing housing due to one of the following reasons: (Domestic Violence; Physical Abuse; Sexual Abuse; etc)

Determination:

Funding provided to households must be utilized for households that ARE currently homeless or AT RISK of being homeless. Households must be low or moderate income prior to the COVID-19 crisis (60% of Erie County Median Income or lower - based upon the criteria designated by HUD, which is subject to change at any time throughout the year) and must currently reside within the Town of Amherst. All services and assistance to be provided on a temporary basis only.

Financial Assistance:

A maximum of three (3) months’ rent can be offered as financial assistance to approved, qualified households/families. In determining financial assistance, it must be clear that the financial assistance to be provided will be sufficient to assist the household/family. Each household/family is eligible to utilize this program once so as to protect limited program funding. If a household/family is so far delinquent in their rent or mortgage that three (3) months of financial assistance would not be enough to help the overall situation, no funding can be provided from the Town.

Program Regulations:

The renter agrees to a free lead-based paint inspection of the rental property by the Town of Amherst Building Inspector prior to a promissory note being executed.

If the renter moves from the property before the full portion of the granted rent amount is utilized, they will be responsible for repayment of a pro-rated portion of the unused rent to the Town of Amherst Community Development. Exceptions can be made at the discretion of the Community Development Director.

The rental property can only be used for residential use in accordance with local regulations.

If the renter provides false information to the Town of Amherst Community Development office, they will not be qualified for the assistance or may be required to repay the assistance.

The Director of Community Development for the Town of Amherst or his/her 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 Town of Amherst Department of Community Development for reasons of funding or program effect.

How to Apply for Assistance:

If you feel you may qualify, please answer “yes” to the following threshold questions in order to determine if you should proceed with an application.

  1. 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.
  2. Have any of your household members become unemployed or under-employed as result of the COVID-19 Pandemic?
  3. Are you homeless or at risk of being homeless because of the COVID-19 Pandemic? (i.e. already missed rent payments and face eviction)

To proceed, please provide an online application at the following link: Online Emergency Rental Assistance Program Application or if you want an application mailed to you, please e-mail sfitzpatrick@amherst.ny.us or call 631-7053.

For questions and guidance, potential applicants can contact Amherst Community Development at (716) 631-7053 or communitydeveloment@amherst.ny.us

About Amherst

The Town of Amherst was established in 1818 and celebrated its 200th Anniversary in 2018. The town has a geographical area of 53.6 square miles and a population of greater than 122,000.

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  • 5583 Main Street
  • Williamsville, NY 14221