March 8, 2023
CONTACT: Mariah McGough, firstname.lastname@example.org
VOCAL-NY ENCOURAGED BY SPEAKER ADAMS’ COMMITMENT TO CITYFHEPS IMPROVEMENTS IN HER STATE OF THE CITY
VOCAL-NY Has Called for Fixes to the CityFHEPS Program to Expand Access and Improve New York City’s Housing Voucher Program
NEW YORK — Today, in response to NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams’ State of the City, which included a recommendation to fix the NYC’s housing voucher program, VOCAL-NY released the following statement, attributable to Celina Trowell, Homelessness Union Organizer:
“We are encouraged by the Speaker’s inclusion of CityFHEPS reform as one of her top priorities this session. Our hope is that the legislation on the horizon will address many of the improvements thousands of CityFHEPS recipients have been calling for. We’re demanding the city remove the arbitrary 90-day rule, fast-track housing applications, and expand access to those who are undocumented with no way out of homelessness. Amidst this crisis of homelessness and unaffordability, Speaker Adrienne Adams is displaying the type of bold, progressive, and most importantly, people-centered leadership we are excited to see.”
Since before the COVID-19 pandemic, activists, service providers and electeds have lamented the CityFHEPS program because it offers a false sense of hope to homeless New Yorkers without actually dedicating the resources necessary to get them housed. With record breaking numbers of people entering the shelter system over the course of the last year, there is a desperate need for a program that can rapidly rehouse people into safe and permanent housing.
VOCAL-NY has worked alongside other groups for years to improve the CityFHEPS program, but it’s still not where it needs to be, especially in light of the influx of asylum seekers that are now living in shelters. VOCAL-NY is advocating for the following changes alongside partners:
- EXPAND ELIGIBILITY to more households, such as to families where everyone is undocumented.
- REFORM BUREAUCRATIC PROCESSES to make sure that the City and shelter staff quickly process applications and that minor errors no longer result in month-long delays or outright denials.
- ELIMINATE UNNECESSARY RULES, such as the 90-day shelter stay requirement, the utility allowance, and rent reasonableness rules.
- COMBAT DISCRIMINATION by rebuilding the City’s source of income discrimination unit and making sure that it has the capacity to actually enforce the rights of CityFHEPS households.
- IMPROVE CODE ENFORCEMENT by ensuring that oversight agencies regularly conduct thorough inspections, and that they have the capacity and expertise needed to enforce necessary repairs.