Housing Access Voucher Program Support Letter From Service Providers
February 15, 2022
Letter to :
Honorable Governor Kathy Hochul
Honorable Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Honorable Speaker Carl H. Heastie
NYS Capitol Building, Albany, NY 12224
The Housing Access Voucher Program is the Tool We Need to Grapple With Record Homelessness in the 2022
With dangerous overcrowding and understaffing at state shelters, and thousands now facing evictions, HAVP is desperately needed to get folks housed
To Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Speaker Carl Heastie,
We, the undersigned, submit this memo in strong support of The Housing Access Voucher Program (HAVP) (S2804A/A3701A), which could put our state on a pathway to end the affordable housing crisis in our state. Despite State Leaders claiming that housing is a priority, the legislature has failed to create one of the most deeply needed resources; a rental assistance program, available to people of low income, regardless of immigration status or where they live in the state. New York State is in the midst of the worst homelessness crisis since the Great Depression. On any given night, 92,000 people live in shelters and on the streets. Thousands more are uncounted and doubled- or tripled-up in apartments. This represents a 150 percent increase since 2009.
For the first time in New York City’s history, over 20,000 single adults are living in homeless shelters. This trend is not unique to New York City. The crisis of homelessness has brought many communities to a breaking point in localities that have far fewer resources than New York City with which to manage the homelessness crisis. COVID-19 has swept through local homeless shelters, forcing some facilities to reduce capacity or close their doors entirely. Many have worked tirelessly to continue to provide high quality services in all our shelters, but we are stretched too thin.
Yet despite the historic nature and scale of this crisis, state leaders have failed to fully support the most inclusive rental assistance program proposed in last year’s legislative session: The Housing Access Voucher Program (S2804/A3701). HAVP is a permanent, statewide Section 8-like rental assistance program. At least fifty percent of the program will be dedicated to help homeless New Yorkers across the state find stable housing. The rest will go towards eviction prevention for households at risk of becoming homeless. HAVP is designed to be maximally accessible, flexible, and non-discriminatory, making it the most effective program for moving homeless households into stable, permanent housing. A state Section 8-like program would reach those New Yorkers left out by the federal program.
In order for us to reduce the number of people without housing in our state, we must offer people a pathway out of the shelters and off of the streets. HAVP works to do this by offering immediate rental assistance to New Yorkers, both helping people secure permanent housing and preventing others from losing it in the first place.
We, the undersigned, urge Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie, to pass these essential pieces of legislation, and put our state on a path to end our housing crisis.
Supportive Housing Network of NY
New York Housing Conference
Citizens’ Committee for Children
Housing Rights Initiative
Homeless Services United
Barrier Free Living
Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center
New York State Council of Churches
Safety Net Activists
New York Legal Assistance Group
New Destiny Housing Corporation
Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY)
Volunteers of America-Greater New York
The Partnership for the Homeless
Sisters of Charity Housing Development Corporation
Care For the Homeless
The Legal Aid Society
Providence House, Inc.
West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing
Henry Street Settlement
Open Hearts Initiative
Emergency Shelter Network
Now we Rise !
Poor Peoples Campaign
Fifth Avenuem Committee
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Riverdale Presbyterian Church and myself
Enterprise Community Partners
the Center of the Independence for the Disabled, New York
Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc.
Better Housing for Tompkins County, Inc.
Violence Intervention Program
Samaritan Daytop Village
Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD)
Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH)
Peace Action Bay Ridge
Westchester Residential Opportunities
Greater Syracuse Tenants Network
Community Preservation Corporation
We Are Not Afraid
Citizens’ Committee for Children
we are not afraid community resource center
Housing Opportunities Made Equal
Mount Vernon United Tenants
University Neighborhood Housing Program
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest