July 13, 2023
Advocates Praise Speaker Adams and the Rest of the NYC Council for Overriding the Mayor’s Veto of CityFHEPs Program Reforms
NEW YORK — Today, the New York City Council has overridden the Mayor’s veto of crucial legislation that reforms the CityFHEPs rental assistance program. In response, VOCAL-NY released the following statement, attributable to Milton Perez, VOCAL-NY leader, and CityFHEPs Voucher holder:
“By overriding this veto, the City Council has proven they stand with directly impacted New Yorkers and housing experts who fought for years to lower barriers for housing with the CityFHEPs program. Despite claiming housing is a priority, Mayor Adams has utterly failed to address the growing crisis faced by New Yorkers and blocked even these common-sense reforms.
In contrast, Speaker Adams and the rest of the City Council have provided a true pathway forward for the people of our city who are deeply housing insecure, and we applaud their courage and political vision. We hope the Mayor has learned from his mistakes and will come to the table and work with – not against us – in fights to come”
Despite the 2.4 billion dollars of taxpayer money that the Department of Homeless Services spent primarily on our overburdened shelter system, the number of people in shelters and on the streets has continued to increase. Our main tool to get folks out of shelters, the CityFHEPs voucher program, is not as effective as it should be at re-housing New Yorkers, even though it pays a fair market rate.
Homeless New Yorkers spent months working with Speaker Adams and the City Council to identify flaws in the program and passed a bill package that strengthens the program and expands it to critical populations. Despite claiming that reforms to this program are a top priority to his administration, the mayor vetoed that package.
Our Mayor justified his veto by misleading the public; claiming the CityFHEPs bills program is not cost effective. He fails to acknowledge the savings we could see by streamlining the transition from temporary shelter to permanent housing – with advocates estimating a cost savings of 730 million dollars a year. He also underestimated the scope of the problem by discounting those who are currently not considered homeless because they are not in a DHS shelter. These bills aim to expand access to the 5,500 children who slept on the street and the 69,000 who were doubled up with friends and family in the 2021 school year. Our Mayor’s lack of a holistic vision on this issue makes him blind to holistic solutions.