Today’s Read: Legislator Vows to Continue Homeless Subsidy Push

Although the State legislative session has officially ended, Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi continues to advocate for bold solutions to alleviate the suffering of a near-record 61,277 men, women, and children sleeping in sweltering NYC shelters, thousands more who bed down on hot city streets, and other homeless New Yorkers in every corner of the state.

This year, Hevesi introduced Home Stability Support legislation that would create a statewide rent subsidy to bridge the difference between the woefully inadequate public assistance shelter allowance and actual rents for households facing eviction, homelessness, or loss of housing due to domestic violence or hazardous conditions. Despite bipartisan support and proven fiscal savings, the bill stalled in the State Senate, and unfortunately it was not included in this year’s budget.

At a time when astronomical housing costs have pushed tens of thousands of New Yorkers into homelessness, the need for large-scale solutions like HSS has never been greater. Undeterred by this year’s setback, Assemblymember Hevesi is already drumming up support for HSS to ensure its adoption in the next budget. To endorse HSS, please visit this page.

Dan Rosenblum wrote about the next steps for the Home Stability Support campaign in New York Nonprofit Media:

The proposed bill was aimed at helping those who were pushed into homelessness by the high price of living in New York. The monthly shelter allowance – a payment to help low-income New Yorkers pay for a place to live – is $215 for a single adult, far below the $1,352 monthly fair market value of a studio apartment in the New York metro area, as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The inability to find housing on that subsidy has been blamed not just for homelessness, but the growth of so-called “three-quarter” houses. Those houses may have cramped living conditions, building code violations and – in the most egregious cases – generate fraudulent kickbacks to unscrupulous landlords.

Under Hevesi’s proposal, state subsidies would pay up to 85 percent of the fair market rent, while local governments have the option of paying the remaining amount. In New York City, the plan would cost the government $11,224 per year for a family of three, as opposed to $38,460 for shelter placement, according to the plan’s backers.

Hevesi said he will spend the six months before the next legislative session reaching out to state Senators, particularly Republicans. Asked whether he could keep the debates free of the political wrangling that nearly led to a temporary lapse of de Blasio’s control over city schools, Hevesi said the issue transcended the five boroughs.

“Mayoral control has absolutely no resonance outside of New York City. It’s completely irrelevant,” he said. “The homeless crisis is in everybody’s district statewide.”