Opinion: Will NY State Take a First Step Toward Ending Homelessness? Posted on March 27, 2019 by Nicole Edine The single best thing that New York’s state government could do to improve housing policy is to provide more rent assistance to pay part of the rent for tenants in imminent danger of becoming homeless and shelter residents trying to get into permanent housing. And that could happen in this year’s state budget. Rent assistance was once the backbone of national housing policy, but the federal government has long since stopped expanding the supply of Section 8 vouchers and other forms of rent assistance to meet the ever-rising need. Instead, all levels of government have been focused on subsidizing the construction of new housing for people who generally can’t afford market rents but can still afford rents that are sufficient to pay for their buildings’ operating costs.