On Friday, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio released a report documenting the prevalence of illegal "side deals" among families receiving the Department of Homeless Services' Advantage subsidy. The report found that nearly 30% of families they surveyed had been pressured by their landlords to pay additional money on top of their contracted rent.
According to those surveyed, "fear of eviction and returning to a shelter compelled many Advantage recipients to make additional payments under the table." These payments ranged from $30 to $500 dollars per month.
Additionally, many of these families "had also alerted the Department of Homeless Services that they were being pressured to pay additional rent, but found no recourse with the agency to stop the practice."
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio states:
"Put simply, bad landlords are taking advantage of the Advantage program. We are talking about gouging low-income New Yorkers who are supposed to be saving so they can stand on their own two feet once the subsidy is over. And the most frustrating part is that this illegal activity persists even after being reported to the Department of Homeless Services."
Again we see yet another example of the failure of the Advantage program to protect families and offer them the necessary support to remain stably housed.
Read the Public Advocate's full report here.
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