In some instances, the internet proved a helpful outreach tool. For example, Jennifer Hernandez, a lead organizer with Make The Road New York, said her group hosted Facebook Live videos in Spanish, walking people through the application step by step. Her organization has a large membership base in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and Jackson Heights, Queens.
Yet Hernandez predicted her group would have been able to assist more people if the application were simpler. ERAP’s online portal was also glitchy, particularly early on. She compared ERAP to the Excluded Workers Fund, another pandemic aid program serving undocumented New Yorkers.
“That application was a piece of cake,” Hernandez said. “We could get through an application in 20 minutes, where the rent relief application was taking two hours, two and a half hours.”