New York’s severe housing affordability crisis continues to be the primary cause of record homelessness. Incomes have failed to keep up with skyrocketing rents, and the State’s shelter allowance for public assistance recipients is nowhere near sufficient to bridge this gap. In fact, two-thirds of public assistance households living in private housing statewide are grappling with rents that exceed their shelter allowances.
To address this issue and proactively stem the flow of even more New Yorkers into homeless shelters, Queens Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi proposes a new program called Home Stability Support (HSS). The statewide plan would provide rent subsidies for low-income households facing eviction, homelessness, or loss of housing due to domestic violence or hazardous conditions.
By providing a lifeline to people who would otherwise languish in homeless shelters, Home Stability Support would save taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars for every household helped. For example, HSS would cost $11,224 per year for a household of three in New York City – a mere fraction of the $43,880 it costs annually to provide temporary shelter to a homeless family. In this way, keeping families stably housed is both cost-effective and compassionate.
As New York marks the grim milestone of 60,000 men, women and children staying each night in NYC homeless shelters and another 20,000 elsewhere in the state, it is imperative that New York’s elected leaders adopt this plan to provide rent subsidies to our neighbors in need.
Assemblymember Hevesi spoke with Capitol Pressroom about the fiscal and moral benefits of Home Stability Support (interview from 22:11 to 36:45):
“Last year, New York State reported to the federal government that in New York, 19,000 more people became homeless than stopped being homeless. With that kind of trending up and the problem continuing to grow, we have to look for new ways to stop the flow of people going into the costly and inefficient shelter system.”
“What we’re proposing is to have a rental supplement that is paid for by the federal government and by the State that will assist people who are facing eviction, who are currently homeless, or who are facing loss of housing due to domestic violence or hazardous conditions.”
“Under this proposal, you will spend one-third less for keeping people in their homes with a rental supplement than you will for the cost of housing them in a temporary shelter, and that’s throughout the state. So we’re looking at huge cost reductions in the long term.”
“People need to recognize that the homeless crisis is not just a New York City crisis alone – it is a statewide problem, and it is ripping up communities.”
Source: Coalition for the Homeless