Today’s Listen: Home Stability Support

New York’s severe housing affordability crisis continues to be the primary cause of record homelessness. Incomes have failed to keep up with skyrocketing rents, and the State’s shelter allowance for public assistance recipients is nowhere near sufficient to bridge this gap. In fact, two-thirds of public assistance households living in private housing statewide are grappling with rents that exceed their shelter allowances.

To address this issue and proactively stem the flow of even more New Yorkers into homeless shelters, Queens Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi proposes a new program called Home Stability Support (HSS). The statewide plan would provide rent subsidies for low-income households facing eviction, homelessness, or loss of housing due to domestic violence or hazardous conditions.

By providing a lifeline to people who would otherwise languish in homeless shelters, Home Stability Support would save taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars for every household helped. For example, HSS would cost $11,224 per year for a household of three in New York City – a mere fraction of the $43,880 it costs annually to provide temporary shelter to a homeless family. In this way, keeping families stably housed is both cost-effective and compassionate.

As New York marks the grim milestone of 60,000 men, women and children staying each night in NYC homeless shelters and another 20,000 elsewhere in the state, it is imperative that New York’s elected leaders adopt this plan to provide rent subsidies to our neighbors in need.

Assemblymember Hevesi spoke with Capitol Pressroom about the fiscal and moral benefits of Home Stability Support (interview from 22:11 to 36:45):

“Last year, New York State reported to the federal government that in New York, 19,000 more people became homeless than stopped being homeless. With that kind of trending up and the problem continuing to grow, we have to look for new ways to stop the flow of people going into the costly and inefficient shelter system.”

“What we’re proposing is to have a rental supplement that is paid for by the federal government and by the State that will assist people who are facing eviction, who are currently homeless, or who are facing loss of housing due to domestic violence or hazardous conditions.”

“Under this proposal, you will spend one-third less for keeping people in their homes with a rental supplement than you will for the cost of housing them in a temporary shelter, and that’s throughout the state. So we’re looking at huge cost reductions in the long term.”

“People need to recognize that the homeless crisis is not just a New York City crisis alone – it is a statewide problem, and it is ripping up communities.”

Listen to the full interview here, and learn more at www.homestabilitysupport.com

Leaders Rally Against Proposal That Could Hike Rents for Low-Income Residents

Local leaders are rallying against a proposal that could hike rents for low-income residents.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is considering a new method to calculate how much households will get for rent.

The Section 8 program helps low-income families, capping their monthly rent to about 30 percent of their income.

Under the new rule, the value of the monthly vouchers would decrease for low-income neighborhoods and increase for high-income neighborhoods.

HUD says the goal is to encourage Section 8 households to live in better areas, but critics say it will make more people homeless.

Four Things the City and State Can Do Right Now to Address Record Homelessness

Today, the City announced a grim milestone: More than 60,000 men, women, and children are now sleeping in Department of Homeless Services (DHS) shelters each night.[1] New York City has a legal right to shelter that means the shelter census will rise and fall to match the need. This record number thus reflects the tremendous need for affordable housing that continues throughout New York City, especially for the lowest-income New Yorkers.

It should be noted, however, that the permanent housing programs introduced by the current administration have succeeded in moving thousands of people out of shelter. In the absence of those programs, the City would have hit this milestone months ago, and many thousands more would be in shelter tonight. But it is clear that the City and State must marshal all solutions on a scale that matches the unprecedented need. Here are four things the City and State could do now to address this ongoing and record need:

  • The City should utilize more of its available housing resources to house homeless families, including available NYCHA public housing, Section 8 vouchers, and units under HPD’s portfolio, to reduce the number of individuals and families in shelter;
  • Landlords must cease illegal discrimination against tenants who receive rental assistance as a form of income, and the City must take aggressive enforcement actions against those who do;
  • State leaders must immediately release the nearly $2 billion sitting idle for crucial supportive and affordable housing resources;
  • The State should adopt Assembly Member Hevesi’s statewide Home Stability Support plan to provide rent subsidies for low-income households at risk of homelessness as well as those staying in shelters, outside, or doubled-up in the home of another.

[1] Not including safe havens, stabilization beds, and veteran’s beds. See the Coalition’s own data tracking methodology here.

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