News Release -- Mayor Warren Announces Support for City Renters to Help Prevent Evictions, Homelessness

City of Rochester

News Release

(Monday, Aug. 17, 2020) – Mayor Lovely A. Warren announced today that the City has submitted legislation to City Council to implement a suite of programs to help prevent evictions and homelessness related to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

“Even in a pandemic, safe, quality and affordable housing remains a fundamental human right, and we must do all we can to protect this right for our residents,” said Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “We recognize the unique challenge of this economic crisis, and we must do all we can to alleviate the pain and suffering of our most vulnerable resident and their families who will soon be confronted with the prospect of homelessness. I am proud of the programs we have launched to support the efforts of our many partners who have long been dedicated to this cause and are ready to step up help our residents at this critical time.”

City Council on Tuesday will consider legislation submitted by Mayor Warren that will dedicate more than $2.8 million toward eviction and homelessness prevention programs to help tenants avoid or recover from an eviction. The funding follows more than $3.5 million approved since May for programs to stabilize the city’s rental market by supporting tenants, landlords and the human-service agencies that focus on eviction and homelessness prevention.

The New York State moratorium on evictions, passed in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, is scheduled to be lifted Sept. 6. Homeless-prevention organizations in the Rochester community are preparing for a surge of eviction notices, which threaten to overwhelm the community’s capacity to provide human services to families.

The funding for the City programs is provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. A large portion of the funding stream is being used to augment existing eviction- and homelessness-prevention programs administered by partner agencies with deep expertise serving vulnerable families.

New programs include direct payments for emergency rent assistance; the provision of free legal assistance to all tenants facing eviction; and grants to landlords to repair affordable-housing rental units and get them on the market as soon as possible.
Eviction and Homelessness Prevention

In May and June, City Council approved over $2 million for an eviction prevention program administered by Catholic Family Center to provide emergency rent payments and/or security deposit assistance for income-eligible tenants before they truly become homeless. Tuesday’s 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, see the attached Rent Assistance Guide or contact the Call Catholic Family Center’s Rent Assistance call center at 585.232.2050.

Legal Assistance

The legislation also sets aside $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 Volunteer Legal Services Project at 585.232.3051 or

Landlord Reimbursement Grant Program

The City is also seeking landlords interested in applying for grants to make minor repairs to vacant rental units so the units can be added to the city’s inventory of affordable housing units as quickly as possible. The City has set aside $300,000 for the program and expects to support about 150 units. Applications for the grant can be found at:


News Media: For more information, contact 311.

Attachment: City of Rochester Rent Assistance Guide 

Rent Assistance Guide

(Use World Lingo translator at bottom of page to view in other languages) 

Please note; the City of Rochester partners with local agencies to administer rental arrears assistance programs.

Are you eligible?*

• You are a renter;

• You have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic;

• You are in immediate danger of eviction, homelessness, loss of housing, or utility shut off; and,

• You have household income at or below:

Persons in Household - Maximum Income:  

  • 1 - 42,800;
  • 2 - 48,900;
  • 3 - 55,000;
  • 4 - 61,100;
  • 5 - 66,000;
  • 6 - 70,900;
  • 7 - 75,800;
  • 8 - 80,700. 

Gather these documents:  

  • Proof of current income;
  • Lease, other proof of current housing situation;
  • Proof of current housing emergency (ex. 14 Day Notice to Pay or Quit, Shutoff Notice, verification of homelessness, etc.);
  • ID and Social Security Numbers for everyone in the household. 

What to do next:  

  1. Call for help: Call Catholic Family Center’s Rent Assistance call center at 585.232.2050 to get started, or call 2-1-1 for other resources.
  2. Go to scheduled appointment, if needed.
  3. Outcomes: Once a complete application is submitted and reviewed, you may be approved for assistance or found ineligible for assistance.**
  4. 4. If approved, payment is issued: Payments are made directly to landlords.

Learn More:

Other Resources:

Budget Guidance and Planning
Financial Empowerment Center
585.252.7110 or

Housing Questions and Advice
Housing Council
585.546.3700 or

Legal Advice and Guidance
Volunteer Legal Services Project
585.232.3051 or

*Not all households that meet the following criteria will be eligible for funding, and, due to limited resources, not all who are eligible will receive funding. A maximum of 6 months of rental arrears assistance is available per applicant, and households must show that they are able to maintain and afford their housing moving forward.

**Applications are ineligible most frequently due to: 1) no “imminent” housing emergency, 2) income too high, and/or 3) household not able to afford housing ongoing.