FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND NYCHA CHAIRMAN HERNANDEZ ANNOUNCE THAT SECTION 8 VOUCHER LIST WILL OPEN FOR FIRST TIME IN TWELVE YEARS
As City Prepares for Fifth Annual Homeless Street Count Tonight, Mayor Announces 22,000 New Vouchers Will Increase Access to Affordable Housing
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chairman Tino Hernandez today announced the availability of 22,000 new Section 8 housing vouchers for very low-income families seeking affordable housing in New York City. Because of the availability of new vouchers, NYCHA’s Section 8 voucher waiting list will reopen for the first time in 12 years. Individuals and families who secure Section 8 vouchers can seek housing in a neighborhood of their choice from any private landlord who accepts the vouchers. The Mayor also announced that 3,000 of these vouchers will be targeted specifically to households at risk of homelessness. With a voucher, qualified families pay 30% of their income toward the Fair Market Rent set by the federal government; NYCHA pays the remainder directly to the private landlord. The announcement was made at the Queens Section 8 Applications Office in Corona as the Department of Homeless Services and the City of New York prepares for the fifth annual Homeless Street Count tonight.
In December 1994, NYCHA closed its Section 8 waiting list except for emergency applicants because of a drop in federal funding for Section 8 vouchers. The 22,000 new vouchers - 12,000 this year and 10,000 next year - are available because of changes made at the local and Federal level. In Washington, Federal funding for Section 8 housing was increased by nearly $100 million. Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Congressional delegation, including Congressman Charles Rangel and Senator Charles Schumer, have worked to repeatedly ward off cuts and win increases in the program’s budget.
The availability of these housing vouchers is also a result of reforms to the City’s homelessness policies. For much of the past decade, available Section 8 vouchers were distributed to families leaving homeless shelters to secure permanent housing. In 2004, the Bloomberg Administration created Housing Stability Plus, the most generous local rental assistance program in the nation, as a new resource for those leaving shelter. Since that time, Housing Stability Plus has helped nearly 10,000 families leave shelter. Vouchers have been and will continue to be made available on a priority bases to domestic violence survivors, families reunifying from foster care, and intimidated witnesses. Further, 200 hundred vouchers have been allocated for individuals who are chronically homeless and are not part of the shelter system.
NYCHA’s Section 8 program is the largest in the United States. NYCHA administers over 83,000 Section 8 vouchers serving over 270,000 New Yorkers. Over 30,000 private landlords accept the vouchers. Income limits for Section 8 are set by the Federal government and vary depending on the number of people in the household. For instance, an individual who earns less than $24,800 a year or a family of four making less than $35,000 could qualify for Section 8 assistance.
NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
Stu Loeser/Jason Post (212) 788-2958
Howard Marder (New York City Housing Authority)
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