Rental Assistance Program

One in four New Yorkers uses half of their income for rent alone, leaving little left over for other necessities, such as food, clothing, child care, medication, and transportation. As rents rise and affordable apartments disappear, working individuals and families on the lowest rung of the economic ladder are finding it harder to make ends meet.

In an effort to help homeless New Yorkers living in the shelter system who are employed full-time but are still unable to afford housing, the Coalition created its Rental Assistance Program. The program provides monthly rent subsidies as well as budgeting and counseling support for up to two years to help participants successfully transition into and maintain permanent affordable housing. This model program has saved New York City millions of dollars, since the cost of rental assistance (roughly $7,700 per year) is considerably lower than the cost to shelter a family ($38,000 per year).

Throughout the course of the program, our case managers work closely with participants to develop and implement strategies to increase their job skills, earning potential, and ability to carry their rent payment independently. Frequently, this involves connecting them with educational or vocational training programs, assisting with resume building and developing a long term financial plan. Since personal and family problems often compromise housing stability, our case managers also help participants overcome a broad range of issues that accompany homelessness. Individuals receive the support they need to combat depression, reconnect with estranged relatives, and avoid relapse into substance use or alcoholism. Case managers stay in contact with participants for two years after they exit the program to provide continued support.

Last year, the Rental Assistance Program housed 34 single adults and 35 families. The program boasts an impressive success rate, with 97 percent of program participants maintaining permanent housing and financial independence after graduation.

For more information about the Rental Assistance Program, please contact Martita Caban at mcaban@cfthomeless.org or call 212-776-2141.

If you are in need of Eviction Prevention services, please call our hotline at 212-776-2039 on Wednesday mornings starting at 9:30am. Since we receive a high volume of calls, it may be difficult to get through. PLEASE KEEP TRYING until you get an answer or hear a message saying that all appointments are full for the week. We also recommend calling the City Wide Task Force Hotline at 212-962-4795 to learn about other opportunities for arrears.

 

Sharon and Alliah

Sharon and Alliah

Sharon is a 35 year-old divorced single mom. She supports herself and her daughter, Alliah, on her very limited income as a security guard - she makes just over $9 per hour. Last year, Sharon and Alliah became homeless when City inspectors evacuated their affordable, but severely run-down Bronx apartment that violated fire safety codes. With no family in New York, they had nowhere to turn but the shelter system.

Sharon was frustrated because although she worked full-time, she did not earn nearly enough money to find and rent a new apartment in New York City's tight real estate market. In fact, she could barely afford clothing for herself and her daughter - Alliah often wore the same outfits four or five times each week, and Sharon had only one bra that she washed daily.

Coalition case managers discovered Sharon during a presentation they made at a shelter this past summer. She soon enrolled in our Rental Assistance Program. Since Sharon joined the program, we helped her find an apartment for her family, where she moved in September. For the next two years we will provide a $300 rent stipend each month to ensure that they maintain housing. At the same time, Sharon has been participating in financial and life skills training to help her become more employable and earn higher wages.

Above all else, Sharon is grateful that her daughter won't have to spend one more night in a shelter. She believes that her life is on the right track, and is excited for the future.