It is estimated that there are 150,000 homeless children in New York State, and more than
80,000 households on the brink of homelessness. Despite legal mandates, households eligible
for public assistance are among the most vulnerable in our State. The state Constitution
mandates that the care of needy is an obligation of the State and of the Legislature, and the
Social Services Law requires that public assistance housing allowances be adequate to enable
families to meet their basic needs in the home. Governor Cuomo has noted taxpayers expend
over $1 billion for the statewide shelter system. Keeping families in their homes through the
Home Stability Support proposal could save taxpayers millions of dollars while bringing about
better outcomes in health, employment, and education. A few examples shed light on the
chasm between shelter allowances and actual rents in New York. We use the HUD Fair Market
Rents (FMR), that is, the cost of decent but modest housing:
Further, many households outside of New York City must pay for heat separately from their
rent. There is a public assistance allowance for fuel for heating, but it has not been increased in
30 years, and is absurdly inadequate to meet the need, resulting in added housing instability.
Home Stability Support (HHS) would create a new statewide rent supplement program for
public assistance families and individuals facing eviction, homelessness, or loss of housing due
to domestic violence or hazardous conditions. The HSS rent supplement would bridge the gap
between the current shelter allowance and 85% of the Fair Market Rent for the given
location. In addition, HSS will include a fuel supplement for those households that pay for heat
separately from their rent. HSS would achieve significant savings throughout the State by
preventing evictions and reducing shelter utilization as well as the costs associated with other
homeless services. HSS would also provide mandate relief to the localities because the costs
would be fully covered by federal and state funds. Finally, to avoid the employment
disincentive of a “benefits cliff,” HSS will include a one-year transitional benefit for households
that increase their earnings enough to leave public assistance. We believe that HSS will reverse
the growing trend of homelessness in New York State. Keeping low-income families and
individuals in their homes will greatly improve social well-being and will save taxpayers millions
READ THIS: New York State Needs Home Stability Support
FULL BILL AVAILABLE HERE: https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2015/s2619/amendment/original
- Contact your Assembly-member and State Senator. Calls and handwritten letters are very effective, try to meet with them when they are in their districts. Share with them the following:
– There are over 150,000 homeless children in New York State and another 80,000 families on the brink of homelessness.
– Every year, 19,000 more people become homeless than escape homelessness, according to New York State’s report to HUD.
– The shelter allowance was initially created to pay the full amount of a family’s rent, but it’s failed to keep up with the rising cost of housing.
– Two-thirds of public assistance households living in private housing have rents that exceed the amount of their shelter allowances.
– The shelter and emergency housing systems cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year.
– Studies have shown that housing instability has a negative effect on employment outcomes for adults and school achievement for children, among other things.Tell them HSS will keep families and individuals on public assistance in their homes and out of homeless shelters by providing sufficient rental and, in some cases, heating assistance. That HSS will significantly reduce costs to the state and taxpayers by preventing evictions, reducing emergency shelter utilization and reducing the costs of other homeless services. And, HSS will provide mandate relief to financially strapped counties that already have shelter supplement programs, and will benefit all communities across the state by using state and federal funds to stabilize families and neighborhoods.
3. Share this information with your contacts and on your social networks.