Resources from Housing Court Answers.

One of the leading services for people struggle to pay their rent or address issues with their landlord is the Housing Court Answers hotline. A non-profit runs this program for families across New York City. The hotline offers a combination of free legal type advice to address unsafe housing or repairs to an apartment, referrals to emergency rent help, information on shelters, and much more.

Housing Court Answers offers an array of programs that provide information or referrals to low income housing and supportive services. This is a resource available to New York City residents who are homeless, facing eviction, hungry, HIV/AIDS positive, or living on extremely low incomes. Available services include, but are not limited to, the following. There may be Emergency Shelters (including during the winter), Homeless Mobile Outreach, Government Grants for Rent arrears, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS.

Emergency Eviction Prevention is a crisis resource that is used by Housing Court Answers. The agency is involved in offering referrals to charitable organizations that may help qualifying families and individuals who live in New York City, Queens, Brooklyn, and really any borough

  • Cash grants are available for eligible applicants.
  • Emergency financial assistance and/or shelter from Housing Court Answers is for the homeless or those who are at risk of losing their current housing due to eviction or foreclosure.
  • Employment support grants are available for approved participants in job placement/training.
  • Help is also for victims of personal or community-wide disasters, no matter their income.
  • Funds may be issued for assistance with overdue utility bill payments or a security deposit.
  • Very rarely there may be assistance with funeral or burial expenses if this expense is what is causing a tenant to fall behind on their housing payments.

In general, rent help is available if the applicant can afford their future rent on their own, after they get short term assistance. They also need to be in the process of facing eviction or are being sued in Housing Court. The cause of the arrears needs to be reasonable and also caused by a one time, unexpected crisis.





The team at the hotline may also help some tenants apply for a no-interest loan from the Human Resources Administration. This city organization is another source of possible funds, ranging from everything from money for a deposit to back rent or vouchers for motels. HRA serves all boroughs and has offices in Harlem, Manhattan, and other parts of New York City.

Housing Court Answers also wants to ensure that all the rentals in New York City are safe and up to standards. Some landlords are slow, or even refuse to make repairs. In these cases the hotline can provide advice to tenants on steps to take.

This ranges from sending the property owner / landlord a certified letter listing the issues to taking legal steps such as filing for a Housing Part Action. Families or individuals in a rent controlled apartment have other options available to them as well. They can file a claim against their landlord as part of the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) programs.

The hotline can provide more information on all of these steps to take to ensure repairs are made. Whether it is a broken air conditioner or heater, plumbing issues, or lack of a smoke detector, these and other issues can be serious. The government in New York City wants all residents to live in a safe home.

The advice and free legal support from Housing Court Answers can also help section 8 recipients as well. So it is wide ranging in assisting both tenants in a private home or government subsidized property. No matter the case some form of homeless prevention is arranged.

Housing Court Answers partners operate a scattered-site housing service designed for formerly homeless, disabled adults who head a family with children. This program provides them self-sufficiency which could then lead to permanent supportive housing. It is often used by people leaving a local shelter.

Heads of household are given leases for private-housing stock apartments located in the city of New York or outlying boroughs, such as Staten Island. They will need to contribute to the program though. For most people, their rent expenses equate to 30% of the income of heads of household. The balance of the rent due to the landlord is covered by Shelter Plus Care rental stipends provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).





Once your application and documentation have been submitted to Housing Court Answers partner agencies, they will review it. If it is approved then the non-profit will give the person the opportunity to draw a number, lottery style as capacity is limited.

Most of the charitable organizations that the NYC housing hotline works with are unfortunately unable to assist all of the overwhelming numbers of people in need of shelter, as they are limited to accepting a maximum number of applications per week. However, it is the goal of the non-profit to always do their best to care for those who are most vulnerable.

Many other services can be arranged by the team at the hotline. The bottom line is that anything they can do to stop homelessness and rehouse families will be done. Or if the New York City resident is just having difficulty in getting the landlord to address a concern they have, then the hotline service can help with that as well.

The Housing Court Answers hotline only offers advice and referrals. It can be reached at 212-962-4795. It is available Monday to Friday. There are highly trained staff that offer advice or referrals as needed.




By Jon McNamara

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