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Thursday, October 6, 2022

States And Local Governments Move In To Send Stimulus Checks To Residents: Millions To Get Relief Payments Ranging From $75 To $1050

Federal stimulus checks ended with the enhanced Child Tax Credit payments, at least for now. The beginning of 2022 saw the rate of inflation rising to a 4-decade high by the end of the first quarter. Several states moved in to help out their residents and ten states have already approved rebates or stimulus payments for 2022. For single filers, the amount starts from $75 and goes up to $850.

When the pandemic first hit the shores of the US in January 2020, many Americans experienced the sudden shock of a rapid drop in income, and in many cases a total stop. If the events were to repeat themselves, many people would still struggle financially. Moreover, the stopgaps provided by the administration, namely the stimulus checks and the monthly enhanced child tax credit payments, are no longer there to curb the financial disaster that would follow.

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An overwhelming 59% of Americans admitted that they would not be able to pay their bill if their income were to stop suddenly. And 24% have zero savings set aside in case of an emergency.

One-Off Stimulus Checks Offered By States and Local Bodies

Mayor Eric Adams of New York City has been touting early progress in his administration’s efforts to clean the streets of homeless encampments. He said that this drive is to ensure that every New Yorker gets the dignity that they deserve, and he said that the administration wants to ensure that it was possible.

The aim is to put homeless New Yorkers into permanent homes as part of a broader plan to improve public safety.

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But homeless advocates contend that the approach is misguided. They say that it is fundamentally a housing and mental health crisis and policing and criminalization of the issues will not solve the problem.

There are various other forms of rebates and stimulus checks benefitting particular groups and communities given out by local, tribal, and state governments. Residents include a one-off tax rebate credit for homeowners (HTRC) of $1,050 max being sent out by New York state to qualified homeowners. Around three million eligible homeowners are expected to benefit this year.

Eligible residents must qualify for a STAR exemption or credit for 2022. They must also have a school tax liability for the 2022-23 school year that is more than the STAR benefit for 2022 and have an income less than or equal to $250,000 for income tax year 2020.

A New Durham pilot stimulus check program is guaranteed to provide income to the formerly incarcerated. The initiative will provide a monthly check of $500 to individuals under the Excel Pilot Program for formerly incarcerated individuals. The payments will continue throughout 2022 and are backed by StepUp Durham, a non-profit seeking to transform the lives of people through life skills training and employment.

One of the goals of this program in the ‘city of second chance’ is to provide proof of consent for the potential implementation of a federally guaranteed income program. Under this context, a guaranteed income has been defined as a monthly stimulus check payment to individuals that are free of conditions and work requirements.

While Durham is operating this program with residents who were previously incarcerated, other cities across the country have initiated similar pilot programs for various population groups. For instance, Columbia in South Carolina is focussing on Black fathers.

Funds For Undocumented Workers And Artists In New York

Undocumented immigrants in New York received funds under the Excluded Workers Fund (EWF). The $2.1B funds provide relief similar to unemployment benefit Stimulus check payments to undocumented immigrants and other workers holding non-traditional jobs that have prevented them from receiving government help for the past year.

Qualifiers received a one-off stimulus check of up to $15,600 (before taxes) if they submitted the necessary documentation needed. Workers who have lived in New York State before March 27, 2020, and continue to do so are eligible to receive benefits.

Such workers must not have received unemployment insurance or be eligible for the same. They should also not have received other COVID-19 income stimulus check relief or other specified benefits from federal or state agencies.

Their earnings should be less than $26,208 in the 12 months before April 2021. Lost at least half their weekly work-related income of total household income at any point between February 23, 2020, and April 1, 2021, due to partial or total unemployment, or unavailability or inability to work due to the pandemic. 

Workers who became responsible for a majority of their household income owing to the disability or death of the head of household will also be eligible for the stimulus check.

One time stimulus checks were handed out to 1,800 artists under the New York City Artist Corps (CAC) program. The funds are aimed at supporting artists who sustain their practice and engaging the public in thousands of cultural programs across the city. The cash was given out to artists based out of New York City and who suffered financially during the pandemic.

Discrimination Hits Move To Reduce New York Homelessness

The New York City voucher system, which has helped people afford rent has long been a key to solving the city’s housing woes. But a broken oversight system undermined their effectiveness recently, alleging advocates.

The program has been hamstrung by the discriminatory practices of real estate agents and landlords who have turned away people relying on subsidies to pay rent. A lawsuit has been filed against 120 real estate companies, property owners, and brokers, across the city who are alleged to have engaged in this illegal practice.

This comes at a time when the city is struggling to move people from shelters and off the streets and give them proper homes. It reflects how voucher discrimination may be undermining nationwide efforts to tackle segregation and homelessness.

A sting operation over a month by a non-profit, the Housing Rights Initiative, made thousands of inquiries seeking to rent homes with special city vouchers for people who were struggling with homelessness and evictions. But recorded text messages, phone calls, and emails showed that landlords refused to entertain such vouchers, an illegal act.

The suit was filed against well-known firms including Douglas Elliman and Coldwell Banker and many individual brokers and landlords.

Homelessness in New York City is at its highest since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Over 50,000 homeless people sleep in the shelter system of the city alone. Thousands more remain in the unsheltered areas of the city or on subways.

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