Today’s Read: Council Members Call for Statewide Rental Supplement Program

On Wednesday, February 13, 2019, Coalition for the Homeless rallied with dozens of advocates and elected officials in support of a statewide rent subsidy proposal called Home Stability Support (HSS), which would reduce homelessness by bridging the difference between the inadequate public assistance shelter allowance and actual rents for households facing eviction, homelessness, or loss of housing due to domestic violence or hazardous conditions. The need for HSS has never been more urgent: Thousands more New Yorkers have fallen into homelessness since Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi first introduced HSS in 2016, and 254,866 New Yorkers experienced homelessness at some point last year. In the face of this record crisis, elected officials from both parties throughout the state have amplified calls for HSS to be finally adopted this year. This week, more than 40 NYC Council Members sent a letter to Governor Cuomo urging immediate action on HSS.

Coalition for the Homeless Policy Director Giselle Routhier explained, “The best way to reduce the record homelessness crisis is to help New Yorkers avoid becoming homeless in the first place, and house those already displaced. Home Stability Support would do this by targeting housing assistance to serve those in shelters while at the same time also helping the vulnerable families most at risk of losing their homes – including those facing eviction or fleeing domestic violence. Homelessness and its effects cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year, and yet we are making little progress toward reducing the problem. By investing in bold preventive solutions like Home Stability Support, we can save tax dollars while also preventing so much needless suffering.”

Janaki Chadha wrote about the rally for Politico:

A group of City Council members and housing advocates rallied at City Hall Wednesday in support of state legislation that would create a rental subsidy for people eligible for public assistance who are facing a loss of housing.

The legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Queens) and State Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan), aims to provide financial assistance for households on the brink of homelessness to be able to afford their rent.

Proponents say the program would ultimately be more cost-effective than building shelters, and end up saving taxpayer money.

The group of Council members, led by Steve Levin and Barry Grodenchik, sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday calling on him to support the legislation.