February 8, 2024
Innovative Program Will Help 1,500 Households With CityFHEPS Vouchers
Move Into Permanent Homes, Fast-Track 1,000 Through Emergency Declaration
New Approach to Nonprofit Partnerships Will EnsureLong-Term Affordability and Stability for Tenants
Follows Adams Administration’s Record-Breaking Efforts to Connect New Yorkers in Shelter to Permanent, Affordable Homes
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Social Services (DSS) Commissioner Molly Wasow Park today launched the Affordable Housing Services (AHS) initiative — a new effort that will create 1,500 permanent affordable homes for New Yorkers in the shelter system with City Fighting Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement (CityFHEPS) vouchers. Through an emergency declaration issued today, DSS will fast-track 1,000 of those units
With 10,600 households with CityFHEPS vouchers currently in the city’s shelter system unable to find housing due to the city’s severe housing shortage, the program will create a new, much-needed, and scalable pathway out of shelter. Through the Affordable Housing Services program, the city will help nonprofits purchase or enter long-term, building-wide leases on affordable housing sites — locking in long-term affordability with strong tenant protections for CityFHEPS voucher holders. The new initiative represents another major step in the Adams administration’s efforts to create affordable homes across the entire city.
“Time and time again, our administration has taken action to help New Yorkers in our shelter system move into permanent affordable homes, and our strategies have proven effective,” said Mayor Adams. “As 10,000 households eligible for CityFHEPS are currently living in shelters, the Affordable Housing Services initiative will create over 1,500 much-needed permanent affordable homes for New Yorkers experiencing homelessness. And as we act now to connect New Yorkers to the homes they need, we will continue to advance our historic ‘City of Yes’ proposal to build housing in every neighborhood and advocate for Albany to truly meet the need.”
“Throughout this administration, we have reaffirmed that every New Yorker deserves a permanent home, and we continue to take consistent, innovative steps to make that aim a reality,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “Today’s announcement of the Affordable Housing Services initiative will help 1,500 individuals and families transition more quickly from shelter to stable housing and will give nonprofit providers new tools to secure leases to further assist their clients as they transition from shelter to housing. Thank you to DSS for their steadfast commitment and creative solutions as we all work together to help every New Yorker in need of a permanent home.”
“The Affordable Housing Services initiative is an important avenue for accelerating pathways to housing for shelter residents,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “This effort builds on the increases in permanent housing placements this administration has already facilitated and serves as an example of our ongoing commitment to secure affordable housing for New Yorkers.”
“DSS administers rental subsidies for more than 70,000 households, effectively making us one of the largest housing authorities in the country,” said DSS Commissioner Wasow Park. “After taking significant steps to expand access to city-funded rental assistance for households in shelter, we are pursuing bold housing solutions and leveraging social service dollars to create critical permanent housing opportunities for them. The emergency use of the Affordable Housing Services initiative will fast-track connections to deeply affordable housing for 1,000 households in shelter while positioning them for long-term stability. This initiative will also be instrumental in helping build on the vital progress we’ve made increasing permanent housing placements from shelter last year. We are also grateful for Comptroller Lander’s partnership in this critical effort as we work collaboratively to realize new and innovative ways to deliver for some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers.”
The emergency declaration issued today will allow DSS to fast-track the creation of 1,000 units of affordable housing by cutting down time required to register contracts with non-profit providers, ultimately allowing providers to quickly move voucher holders into affordable units that are ready for immediate occupancy. The 1,000 fast-tracked units will all use the AHS long-term leasing model and take advantage of new-to-market buildings and existing housing stock ready for clients to move into. The additional 500 units in the AHS pipeline will be acquired by non-profit providers.
In total, the city’s pipeline for the program will create 1,500 units of subsidized housing for households with CityFHEPS vouchers. DSS has already finalized contracts with various nonprofit providers to create subsidized housing for nearly 700 households in shelter that are eligible for CityFHEPS vouchers. More than 150 households have already been placed in permanent housing made available through the program in 2023. The program also includes the first-of-its-kind project, done in partnership with Riseboro Community Partnership, to convert the former JFK Hilton Hotel to affordable housing.
The new initiative represents another major step in the Adams administration’s efforts to create affordable homes across the entire city, especially for families exiting the shelter system. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, the administration connected more New Yorkers to permanent housing using CityFHEPS vouchers than in any other year in the program’s history — building on a series of reforms the Adams administration has implemented to expand access to vouchers eliminate the 90-day length-of-stay requirement for New Yorkers in shelter to be eligible for the vouchers, expand their use so voucher holders can obtain permanent housing anywhere in New York State, and further streamline the program with technological improvements for voucher holders.
In addition to setting records last year for creating affordable homes and helping New Yorkers move in, the Adams administration broke new ground in FY23 by financing the highest number of supportive homes in city history as well as the highest number of homes for New Yorkers who formerly experienced homelessness in a fiscal year, since tracking began in 2014. These signs of significant progress also follow bold steps to help voucher holders obtain affordable housing more quickly by eliminating credit checks for CityFHEPS voucher holders applying for affordable housing and make permanent affordable homes available for voucher holders more quickly.
“With more people in shelter and housing more expensive than ever, we need new, creative solutions to help people move into housing they can afford,” said New York City Comptroller Brad Lander. “Props to DSS Commissioner Molly Wasow Park and the Adams administration for coming up with this innovative and urgently-needed program — and for working with us to ensure it makes wise use of public dollars, addresses the short-term crisis but also builds toward longer-term solutions, and helps homeless New Yorkers find their way home.”
“For nearly 20 years, Acacia Network has been proud to partner with the City of New York to address some of our most pressing quality-of-life issues — from homelessness and housing affordability to the more recent COVID-19 and migrant crises,” said Lymaris Albors, CEO, Acacia Network. “This announcement by Mayor Adams and the Department of Social Services is a testament to the power of multi-sector collaboration and the value that non-profit providers bring to the table, and we look forward to continuing to work together by connecting homeless individuals and families to safe, permanent housing.”
“Housing is the bedrock of families, individuals, and community well-being,” said Debbian Fletcher-Blake, CEO, VIP Community Services. “We applaud Mayor Adams and Commissioner Park for their vision to invest in 1,500 affordable housing units for shelter residents through DSS’s Affordable Housing Services program. This innovative program represents a significant step in addressing homelessness in New York City. It will provide a direct pathway to equitable opportunities for low-income individuals. We are excited at the prospect of improving access to permanent and stable affordable housing in New York City.”
“A long-term solution to homelessness has and will always start with a pathway to permanent, affordable housing,” said Scott Short, CEO, RiseBoro Community Partnership. “We're honored to be a part of that solution through the ongoing conversion of JFK Hilton. Thank you to the mayor and the city for taking this very important step.”
“The Fortune Society commends the mayor’s emergency declaration to expedite the development of affordable housing units for those residing in shelters,” said Stanley Richards, president and CEO, The Fortune Society. "Through our experience in supporting individuals affected by the criminal legal system, we know that housing is the cornerstone for a better future and a fundamental right deserving of every individual. This initiative will bring us one step closer toward enhancing the pipeline of available housing options within the community, ultimately fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment for all.”
"The Doe Fund applauds Mayor Adams and Department of Social Services Commissioner Molly Park's investment in nonprofit housing providers," said Jennifer Mitchell, president and CEO, The Doe Fund. "This emergency declaration will ensure that people experiencing homelessness have a pipeline to safe, state-of-the-art, affordable homes with on-site supportive services, allowing them to stabilize, re-enter the community, and close the revolving door of homelessness for good. With 14 such residences in operation or development, The Doe Fund is proud to partner with the city in meeting this vital need."