HomeNew York City’s new housing voucher rules will dramatically increase income eligibility for renewals

New York City’s new housing voucher rules will dramatically increase income eligibility for renewals

New CityFHEPS rent assistance voucher rule significantly increases renewal eligibility income – in response to criticism that earlier, stricter standards would force participants to the edge of the “income cliff”, causing families to choose between a paid living job or their own. Accommodation voucher.

Uday Talwar

Current and former city officials at a news conference in May, to celebrate the passage of a City Council ordinance to raise the value of CityFHEPS coupons.

In response to the call of homeless residents and their allies, city officials have issued new rent assistance rules designed to dramatically increase the number of New Yorkers eligible to renew municipal housing coupons.

The rule change published Friday will allow New Yorkers receiving CityFHEPS rental assistance to keep their housing vouchers after five years if they earn up to 80 percent of median income — currently $66,880 for an individual or $85,920 for a family of components. of three individuals. The decision represents a significant amendment to A New law increases the value of CityFHEPS vouchers But it has capped renewal eligibility at 250 percent of the federal poverty line — the equivalent of just $32,200 for one adult and just under $55,000 for a family of three.

Although beneficiaries and advocates celebrated the voucher increase, many warned that the strict income cap could lead to problems in the future, forcing families to choose between a job that pays a living wage or their housing voucher. Families who have lost their housing assistance will face an “income cliff” – a sudden and severe increase in rent.

“That’s basically what we were asking for. It’s really, really, really big,” said Sarah Wilson, one of the organizers of the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center. “You can get a job at $20 an hour without risking losing your home.”

Wilson said she has struggled to find an apartment at a price low enough to afford it with CityFHEPS backing and has advocated for an increase in value over the past four years. She and the Safety Net Project have worked with members of the groups Neighbors Together, VOCAL-NY, and the Open Hearts Initiative to continue advocating for the renewal amendment even after The council passed the legislation in May.

“We really struggled to get people to earn a living wage and to be able to afford housing,” she said. “Previously, it did not exist and now a successful rental program benefits the entire community. This achievement will greatly impact all New Yorkers.”

Homeless New Yorkers and their defenders The city has always urged to increase the value of the coupons To reflect the true cost of housing in the country Most expensive rental market, with patrons like Wilson describing the inability to find an apartment at a price low enough to afford CityFHEPS.

The city council voted in May to tie the value of the CityFHEPS coupon to higher Section 8 levels, which could open thousands of higher-priced apartments across the five boroughs to New Yorkers who live in shelters or public spaces, as well as some people at risk of eviction. Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the measure and agreed to fast track Increases, which entered into force on 1 September.

In New York City, Section 8 covers one-bedroom apartments at $1,45 per month and two-bedroom apartments at $2,217. before Matching new law Those Section 8 rates, CityFHEPS vouchers The rentals only covered $1,265 per month for one adult and $1,580 for a family of three or four. These totals failed to keep pace with the average two-bedroom apartments in every neighborhood of the city, According to the review Rental rates as per real estate website RentHop.

Coupon holders pay a “family share” – part of their income, up to 30 percent – and the subsidy covers the remainder of the monthly rent.

Advocates of powerful rental vouchers say they can help thousands of New Yorkers secure permanent housing. City data shows that more than 46,000 New Yorkers stayed at a Department of Homeless Services (DHS) shelter Thursday night. This total includes 8,599 families with 14,927 children. Adults who reside in DHS shelters and live in public spaces – known as “street homeless” in New York – are also eligible for CityFHEPS vouchers.

A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Social Services (DSS) said the agency decided to increase the threshold for CityFHEPS’ renewal in response to feedback from voucher holders and advocates.

“We are proud to announce that, after receiving important feedback, we have made adjustments to our final rule that we believe enhance the program and our support for New Yorkers in need and will move forward with implementation immediately,” the company spokesperson said. “We thank all of the clients, advocates, service providers, and members of the public who participated in the process and made their voices heard. Your valuable experiences, opinions, and input continue to make our work and New York City stronger.”

The new rules take effect in December and also allow CityFHEPS to cover mid-year rent increases for units subject to rental regulation – an important adjustment following the city’s Rent Guidance Board Vote in June Rents increased by 1.5 percent for the second half of new one-year leases.

The DSS has also updated the rules to enable families at risk of eviction to submit a rent application letter to qualify for CityFHEPS without first undergoing an eviction procedure, as long as the New York State Office of Temporary Assistance and Disability also waives the FHEPS eviction. procedure condition.

Jacqueline Simon, senior policy analyst for the Homeless Coalition, praised city officials for enforcing the new rules.

“People whose income has increased will not have to worry about suddenly losing their vouchers,” Simon said. “We are pleased that the Department of Social Services has acknowledged a shortfall in CityFHEPS in addressing the income slope that has made it difficult for people with increased incomes to maintain housing stability.”

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