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Budget, Education & City Services

Community Board 5 Support of NYS Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi's Home Stability Support Initiative.

WHEREAS, Community Board Five is alarmed by the magnitude of homelessness in New York City, and the attendant human and financial costs to our city and its neighborhoods; and

WHEREAS, The problem of homelessness has reached a critical juncture with more than 60,000 homeless people in New York City, 80,000 families on the brink of homelessness in New York State, and 150,000 children homeless in New York State; and

WHEREAS, New York State reported that 23,000 more people became homeless than escaped homelessness last year in NYS; and

WHEREAS, Taxpayers spend over $1 billion for the statewide shelter system; and

WHEREAS, The costs to our communities are unsustainable and we need a fiscally-responsible approach that reduces the overall cost of housing the homeless while keeping more families in their homes; and

WHEREAS, Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi has proposed a new statewide rental supplement program, called the Home Stability Support (HSS) program, which can stem the tide of displacement that is driving large numbers of families and individuals into homelessness each and every day; and

WHEREAS, The rent supplements will be a bridge between the current shelter allowance and 85% of the fair market rent determined by HUD, with local districts having the option to further raise the supplement up to 100% of the fair market rent at local expense; and

WHEREAS, Prior to 1975, the rents of households on public assistance were paid in full; and

WHEREAS, When the shelter allowance was created in 1975, it was originally designed to pay the full rent but the allowance has not been adjusted to keep up with the rising cost of rent and the shelter allowance for NYC is currently $400/month for a family, and

WHEREAS, 171,000 households in NYS currently receive a shelter allowance, and

WHEREAS, HSS is for public assistance-eligible families and individuals that are:

WHEREAS, Roughly 80,000 households would be eligible initially; and

WHEREAS, HSS would cost an estimated $400 million over the first five years and then $400 million annually in federal and state financing; and

WHEREAS, Under the State and City's current shelter systems, we pay three times the proposed cost of HSS, while at the same time we continue to see homelessness rates grow; and

WHEREAS, An analysis by the office of Scott M. Stringer found that over 10 years, the home stability support plan could cut the city’s shelter population by 80 percent among families with children and 40 percent among single adults and the resulting significant shelter savings would initially be offset by the cost of providing HSS, though, the program would yield net budgetary savings beginning after the 5th year; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five believes that the program should be amended to add supportive programs including job counseling and financial planning; and

WHEREAS, Quality and habitability has been a problem for residents receiving housing assistance and Community Board Five recommends monitoring of landlords participating in the program and monthly payments to landlords as a quality enforcement mechanism; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five recommends that the transitional nature of this program be analyzed to determine how to best handle the housing needs of recipients at the end of the five year term of the program; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five supports Assemblyman Hevesi's Home Stability Support Initiative
as a cost-effective approach that can help prevent homelessness and we ask the Governor and State
Legislature to pass this legislation for its successful implementation.

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