New York: Mayor Eric Adams feels the pain of thousands of homeless New Yorkers and those living in streets and shelter homes, as he has announced a mega package of new housing reforms to provide them permanent yet affordable housing, even in higher-income neighborhoods.
The announcement came, a couple of days back. The package of major new housing reforms will help New Yorkers exit the shelter system – or avoid it entirely – and move more quickly into permanent housing even in the posh localities of the city.
As per details available at the official Website of the City of New York, the reforms include significant improvements to the City Family Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement (CityFHEPS) housing voucher program that will ensure more New Yorkers are eligible for the program and make the voucher more flexible and easier to use; a groundbreaking pilot program – “Street to Housing” – that will place New Yorkers experiencing unsheltered homelessness directly into supportive housing; and a major expansion of the city’s housing mobility program, which helps families with federal housing vouchers access apartments in more neighborhoods across the five boroughs.
Together, these reforms deliver on key commitments in Mayor Adams’ “Housing Our Neighbors: A Blueprint for Housing and Homelessness,” which reoriented the city’s approach to homelessness, treating it as a housing problem. This package also complements other key initiatives in the housing blueprint, including efforts to accelerate the creation of supportive housing, expand overall housing supply, and eliminate unnecessary obstacles New Yorkers face to obtain housing.
“Our administration is tackling this crisis head-on by focusing on moving New Yorkers into stable, high-quality, affordable housing. That’s what will define success for this administration, and that’s what these reforms are about,” said Mayor Adams. “Like our housing blueprint, these changes were informed by those with lived experience of homelessness and on the front lines of this crisis. And today, we’re starting a major effort to fast-track New Yorkers in need to permanent housing and getting stuff done for those who need help the most.”
“When we released the Adams administration blueprint, Housing Our Neighbors, we promised to put people over paperwork, and that’s what you’re seeing today,” said Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz. “By streamlining access to CityFHEPS and supportive housing and expanding the power of our Housing Choice Vouchers, more New Yorkers will be able to remain stably housed, avoid the shelter system, and raise their families affordably. This is only the beginning of the work we have to do, but we made a promise to our neighbors to improve housing in this city, and we are following through on that effort.”
“These reforms give us new flexibility and additional tools to shorten the pathway for families and individuals experiencing homelessness to move into safe, stable, and affordable housing,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “Thank you to our interagency partners and to our nonprofit partners for continuing to find new ways that we can work together to work toward our goal of finding every New Yorker a permanent home.”
The Adams administration will implement a package of reforms to the CityFHEPS city-funded housing voucher program that will make vouchers more widely accessible and easier to use more quickly. As part of this package, the administration is:
Expanding CityFHEPS eligibility to include single adults working full-time on minimum wage, even if their income is slightly higher than 200 percent of the federal poverty level
Putting money back in New Yorkers’ pockets by reducing the monthly contribution by CityFHEPS tenants who move into single-room occupancy units from 30 percent of their income to a maximum of $50 per month,
Supporting working families by reducing the number of hours families are required to work to become eligible for CityFHEPS from 30 to 14 hours per week,
Covering the cost of apartment application fees for New Yorkers living in New York City Department of Homeless Services shelters,
Creating an option for CityFHEPS voucher-holders who choose to secure an apartment that rents above the CityFHEPS maximum to utilize a voucher by paying up to 40 percent of their income,
Expanding Supplemental Security Income eligibility for CityFHEPS families from an adult in the household to any household member, such as a child,
Piloting a limited bonus equal to one month’s rent for landlords renting to CityFHEPS voucher-holders in high-cost neighborhoods,
Significantly increasing staffing at the New York City Department of Social Services (DSS) to speed up voucher processing and increase placements,
Significantly increasing New York City Human Resources Administration staff presence in Housing Court to ensure eligible clients get quick access to financial assistance that will allow them to stay in their homes, and
Creating consistency across CityFHEPS, Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHV), and the Special One-Time Assistance (SOTA) program by providing a “unit hold” incentive payment equal to one month’s rent for landlords who agree to hold an apartment while an EHV holder or SOTA participant’s materials are processed.
The implementation process for the benefit enhancements and pilot programs listed above will begin immediately. For the reforms that must be implemented through DSS rulemaking, the process will begin immediately and include legally mandated public hearings.
The Adams administration’s Street to Housing pilot program creates a direct pathway for New Yorkers experiencing unsheltered homelessness to access permanent supportive housing without having to go through the shelter system.
This initial pilot will connect up to 80 single adult clients with supportive housing. Once placed in housing, clients will be supported by experienced not-for-profit provider-partner Volunteers of America Greater New York (VOA-GNY) as they complete the application from the very unit that can become their permanent home.