Opinion: It’s Time to Make Housing Vouchers Universal

The pandemic has laid bare the economic and health-related vulnerabilities facing so many New Yorkers and highlighted the urgent need to provide everyone with access to both affordable housing and quality health care. Indeed, one of the most salient lessons of this crisis is that housing is health care. The past year has been so devastating because it exacerbated underlying inequities and exposed pernicious holes in the social safety net, including the disastrous inadequacy of our housing infrastructure.

Tens of thousands of homeless New Yorkers have been enduring a major public health crisis without the fundamental safety and security of their own homes, and countless others have fallen behind on rent and may experience homelessness once stopgap measures like the eviction moratoria end. The risk is greatest for Black and Latinx New Yorkers: Systemic racism limits their access to housing and places many in economic jeopardy. New York City has been left scrambling to help homeless people stay safe and to prevent a catastrophic surge in homelessness.