A Better, Cheaper Alternative to the Failed “Advantage” Program

As Mayor Bloomberg and City officials continue their irresponsible fear-mongering in defense of the failed Advantage program, they are refusing to talk about a better, cheaper alternative: Federal housing programs.

Coalition for the Homeless has long talked about the proven success of Federal housing programs, like public housing and Section 8 vouchers, in reducing family homelessness. Unfortunately, the Bloomberg administration has refused to embrace that time-tested approach and replaced the proven Federal programs with deeply flawed and costly programs like the defunct Housing Stability Plus and Advantage.

Now that Governor Cuomo has proposed eliminating State funding for Advantage, New York City has an opportunity to move beyond Mayor Bloomberg’s failed approach to family homelessness.

We’ve just released a policy brief that outlines a better, more cost-effective alternative to the failed Advantage program. The introduction to the paper is below, and you can find the complete paper here.

Governor Cuomo’s 2011-2012 budget proposes eliminating $35 million in State funding for the Advantage program, the failed, time-limited rent subsidy program that has become little more than a revolving door back to homelessness for thousands of vulnerable children and adults.

The Governor’s budget proposal offers City and State officials the chance to abandon the flawed program and replace it with a better, more cost-effective alternative: Targeting proven Federal housing assistance to homeless families, combined with significant reforms to the Advantage program.

This alternative approach will save City and State taxpayer dollars and provide better, more stable housing options for homeless children and adults exiting shelter.

Although the City has threatened to cut off the Advantage subsidies of families with children who are currently in the program, such action would be unlawful. On behalf of these families and Coalition for the Homeless, the Legal Aid Society is prepared to go to court to prevent that from happening.