Today’s Read: Momentum Builds for Home Stability Support

Faced with a worsening affordable housing crisis and record homelessness statewide, a growing number of elected leaders and advocates are endorsing the innovative Home Stability Support proposal introduced by State Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi (D- Forest Hills). HSS would establish a statewide rent subsidy for public assistance households facing eviction, homelessness, or loss of housing due to domestic violence or hazardous conditions. The plan would protect tens of thousands of New Yorkers from the trauma of homelessness while simultaneously saving tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars for every household served by avoiding costly shelter and other emergency services.

The latest endorsement of this cost-effective, common-sense solution to homelessness comes from Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), who serves as Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus in the House of Representatives. In a statement, he explained:

“The most effective way to combat homelessness in our city is to prevent New Yorkers from becoming homeless in the first place. At a time when so many of our communities are rent-burdened and struggling to make ends meet, Home Stability Support presents a real opportunity to provide the assistance vulnerable families need to stay in their homes.

“As a member of Congress, I have consistently supported increased funding for federal housing assistance programs like section 8, public housing, and the continued creation and maintenance of affordable housing stock. Now, I join the growing coalition of elected officials and advocates who view Home Stability Support as a sensible proposal that will not only help reverse the trend of homelessness in our city but also provide significant savings for taxpayers.

“Too many New Yorkers are depending on us to act and I applaud Assemblyman Hevesi for his leadership on finding solutions to this crisis by taking steps to strike at the root of the problem.”

This key endorsement comes on the heels of last month’s announcement that more than 30 City Councilmemebers and Public Advocate Letitia James also support HSS. Mark Hallum covered the November 22nd City Hall press conference for the Times Ledger:

“In one of the wealthiest cities in the world, it is absolutely inexcusable, intolerable, and indefensible that there are increasing numbers of children, families, and individuals who are struggling to find basic shelter,” [Councilmember Barry] Grodenchik said. “Assembly member Hevesi’s Home Stability Support program would be a significant step forward in reversing the trend. I am happy to announce that the majority of the New York City Council backs this proposal, and I am hopeful that the Governor will consider implementing it as soon as possible.”

The coalition determined the plan has the potential to save money as an alternative to homeless shelters. HSS could cost $11,224 per year for a household of three, whereas the city spends about $38,460 annually to house a family with children in a shelter, saving taxpayers $27,236 per family a year.

“Our city has long been a leader in finding creative solutions to the greatest challenges we as a society face,” Hevesi said. “The growing homeless crisis is no different. Home Stability Support has the potential to keep thousands of New Yorkers in their own homes in a way that’s both fiscally and socially-responsible.”

The program has the potential to save as much as $251 million a year on other services, such as law enforcement, housing court and shelters for runaway youth by preventing roughly 5,000 evictions in the city alone, according to the coalition.