June 16, 2023
Watch the video here at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TT7dvSvhrE
Emergency Rule Change to CityFHEPS Housing Voucher Program Will Expand Eligibility for Both Families and Single Adults, Helping Even More New Yorkers in Shelter Access Permanent Housing More Quickly
Adams Administration Has Connected Record Number of Households to CityFHEPS This Year, Increased Placements From Shelter Into Permanent Housing 20 Percent Year-Over-Year
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today issued emergency rules eliminating the 90-day length-of-stay requirement for New Yorkers in shelter to be eligible for City Family Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement (CityFHEPS) housing vouchers — the largest city-funded rental assistance program in the nation — vastly expanding the number of New Yorkers in shelter who will now be able to access city-funded rental assistance. Effective immediately, families as well as individuals in shelter will have expanded access to city-funded rental assistance and expedited connections to permanent housing. With New York City continuing to manage the unprecedented asylum seeker crisis largely on its own, this emergency rule will build on progress to quickly move New Yorkers out of shelter and into permanent housing.
“Today, we’re taking our efforts to house more New Yorkers to the next level — building on our work expanding voucher eligibility, cutting red tape, and reducing bureaucracy that we’ve focused on since day one,” said Mayor Adams. “By removing the 90-day length of stay requirement for our CityFHEPS rental assistance program for individuals and families in shelter, we’ll help more people exit shelter for permanent housing faster. To really build the housing New Yorkers need, the state Legislature must pass a 421-a replacement, allow more office conversions, and lift the cap on housing in Midtown Manhattan. We’ll continue to advocate for those changes and use every tool available to move New Yorkers into homes.”
Today’s announcement builds on last year’s robust package of CityFHEPS reforms Mayor Adams implemented to help New Yorkers exit the shelter system and move more quickly into permanent affordable housing. The New York City Department of Social Services (DSS) has also made numerous technology, staffing, process, and training improvements over the past year to expedite shelter move-outs. These improvements have resulted in an overall increase in exits from shelter to permanent housing across all shelter populations during the first four months of Fiscal Year 2023, with the largest increase in placements moving New Yorkers into subsidized housing and contributing to a more than 40 percent increase in placements for single adults residing in shelter.
“The changes announced today will help us more efficiently provide families and individuals with the services and housing supports they need,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “This new tool will help us to connect New Yorkers experiencing homelessness with more permanent housing.”
“From day one, the Adams administration has put New Yorkers, especially those experiencing homelessness, at the center of our city’s housing policy and committed to slashing through the red tape and dysfunction that keeps a safe, dignified home out of reach for too many of our neighbors,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “CityFHEPS vouchers have proven themselves to be an effective tool for getting our fellow New Yorkers into stable, long-term housing options and we are thrilled to expand this opportunity to more families and individuals.”
“Since day one, this administration has worked to eliminate barriers to permanent housing and expand access to city-funded rental assistance for New Yorkers in shelter,” said DSS Commissioner Molly Wasow Park. “Today, we’re taking our robust reforms one step further so even more families and individuals in shelter can access CityFHEPS vouchers even faster. We are also using every tool at the city’s disposal to address the urgent need for shelter capacity as we respond to an ongoing humanitarian crisis. With this emergency rule change, we will build on the progress we are already making, moving more New Yorkers from shelter to permanent housing, while freeing up much-needed capacity within the DHS shelter system to ensure that we are effectively continuing to provide shelter to asylum seekers in need.”
“Rental subsidies are a vital tool to help New Yorkers experiencing homelessness leave shelter,” said Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz. “The housing and homelessness blueprint focused on ending administrative burdens that keep New Yorkers from attaining housing and ensuring that those who have experienced homelessness help to shape our policies. This announcement will create a more efficient, effective, and equitable process to deliver the housing and assistance that New Yorkers need and deserve.”
The program established under the CityFHEPS rule allows individuals and families to rent apartments at competitive market-rate rents based on the annual New York City Housing Authority Section 8 Payment Standards. By eliminating the length of stay requirements in shelters through these emergency rules, additional households will be eligible to move out of shelter and into permanent housing.
With a vacancy rate for affordable housing ranging between one and five percent, many New Yorkers have a difficult time finding an apartment even after receiving a voucher. To address this issue, the Adams administration has focused on accelerating production of new housing and advancing development projects in neighborhoods around the city. Mayor Adams also continues to call on the state to take action on a new affordable housing incentive program — easing conversion of vacant offices to housing and eliminating the cap on housing in Midtown Manhattan.
Since the implementation of city-funded rental assistance in 2014, nearly 150,000 New Yorkers in 63,000 households have been helped to move into permanent housing or remain stably housed. So far this fiscal year, from July 2022 through April 2023, DSS has connected a record number of households to CityFHEPS vouchers, and is on track outpace the number of households connected to CityFHEPS in prior years. Currently, the CityFHEPS program alone supports 30,000 households by providing a rental subsidy.
“We are facing the greatest homelessness crisis since the Great Depression, and this moment demands creative solutions that help New Yorkers get out of shelter and into permanent housing faster. That is exactly what repealing the 90-day rule will do, and I applaud Mayor Adams for supporting our homeless neighbors with this change,” said Christine C. Quinn, president and CEO, Win. “Repealing this outdated, illogical rule will create more capacity in shelter for asylum seekers, lead to better futures for New Yorkers experiencing homelessness, and save the city and taxpayers millions of dollars. It’s a win-win for New Yorkers, and an important step forward in our efforts to break the cycle of homelessness.”
“The Children’s Rescue Fund strongly supports the change to the 90-day CityFHEPS requirement,” said Orlando Ivey, president and CEO, Children’s Rescue Fund. “This change will allow families to rapidly return to their communities, which is the goal of both the DSS and the Children’s Rescue Fund. In addition, this action in conjunction with receiving wraparound services provided by community-based organizations will enable the families to successfully transition back to independent living. We thank our elected officials for taking this bold step to addressing the homeless crisis our city is currently facing.”
“As the largest provider of domestic violence shelter services in the county, Urban Resource Institute provides shelter and services to more than 2,200 hundred people each night – approximately one in 35 people in New York City who need shelter on any given night,” said Nathaniel Fields, CEO, Urban Resources Institute (URI). “Our primary responsibility to our clients is to provide support and to help secure safe, stable, and permanent affordable housing. URI’s dedicated staff begins providing comprehensive, client-centered, trauma-informed care to our clients and their families the moment they walk through our door; with this rule change, they can also immediately begin working to help our clients find their next home. The struggle to find affordable housing is real, and URI applauds Mayor Adams and his administration for removing a significant barrier to safety and healing for people experiencing homelessness and survivors of domestic violence.”
“With homelessness at a record-level high, we applaud the mayor’s decision to remove the requirement that the homeless be required to be in shelter for 90 days to qualify for a CityFHEPS voucher,” said Eileen Torres, executive director, BronxWorks. “The requirement is further exacerbating the homelessness crisis in New York City which is facing unprecedented pressure due to the asylum seeker crisis. By removing this requirement, families and individuals can avoid lengthy and expensive stays in shelter. CityFHEPS is an effective tool at the city's disposal to fight homelessness. A failure to use this tool immediately upon entry into shelter is an unnecessary financial burden for the city and not in the best interest of the client. We look forward to working with the mayor and his administration on other policy changes that will reduce homelessness.”
“Access to affordable housing is one of the keys to preventing and ending episodes of homelessness,” said George Nashak, president and CEO, Care for the Homeless. “Mayor Adams and his team should be applauded for expanding access to housing vouchers, a key strategy to making housing more affordable in New York City.”
“Housing is the best prescription we can write for unhoused families and individuals facing complex mental health challenges,” said Jody Rudin, president and CEO, Institute of Community Living (ICL). “A permanent home helps people build stability and better health. Our goal should be moving people from shelter to permanent housing as quickly as possible. Now, thanks to Mayor Adams, we will eliminate one of the barriers to reducing shelter stays and moving people to housing.”
“We applaud Mayor Adams for eliminating the 90-day CityFHEPS requirement as it will result in a tremendous and positive impact on the lives of thousands of New Yorkers,” said Mitchell Netburn, president and CEO, Samaritan Daytop Village. “Waiting unnecessarily for months only exacerbates the challenges of providing transitional housing to the unprecedented number of New Yorkers current in shelters, largely due to the growing population of asylum-seeking migrants. Currently, 750 people are in the 90-day waiting period for rental assistance in shelters that Samaritan Daytop Village operates across four boroughs. With the waiting period removed, these families and single adults will be able to quickly move on with their lives and into stable and permanent housing — as they so deserve. The importance of this new policy cannot be overestimated.”