Tuesday, July 6, 2010

ATTENTION: NYC and NYS Announce Public Housing Restorations

Recently, New York City and State announced a major plan to restore Section 8 vouchers for more than 6,000 families across the five boroughs.

Last December, the NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) was forced to withdraw its offer of Section 8 vouchers for roughly 2,500 approved families as a result of a major shortfall in its Section 8 budget. Vouchers for an additional 4,000 families were also at risk of being terminated. Upon learning of this problem, the NYC Council held two hearings, entered into discussions with NYCHA and the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD), and has now committed to providing $7 million so that these low-income New Yorkers won't end up on the street.

The full plan includes: using $23 million in HPD Section 8 reserves; transferring 750 vouchers from the NYS Division of Housing & Community Renewal (DHCR) to HPD; using federal HOME program funding to fund additional vouchers; and allocating Council capital funding to replace the shifted HOME funds. This plan will restore or save all 6,500 vouchers. Because of the steps that we're collectively taking today, thousands of New Yorkers will soon receive the vouchers they need to remain safe and sheltered.

And in another major victory for NYC tenants, last week the NYS Supreme Court's Appellate Division upheld Justice Emily Jane Goodman's decision earlier this year striking down the Rent Guidelines Board's (RGB) 2008 supplemental increase. In June 2008, the RGB approved rent increases of 4.5 and 8.5 percent for 1-and 2-year renewal increases respectively. The board also approved a $45 to $85 supplemental increase on tenants who've lived in their apartment for 6 years or more and pay less than $1,000 in rent. As a result, these tenants were forced to pay a higher increase than what's legally allowed under current RGB guidelines. The NYC Council has long denounced this supplemental increase as a "poor tax" on working and middle-class New Yorkers, and were proud to work with the Legal Aid Society and Legal Services of New York to help take this unjust burden off of tenants.

The Council joins tenants and advocates across the five boroughs in applauding the Appellate Division for recognizing that the RGB had exceeded its authority under city and state housing laws when it attempted to unfairly penalize tenants for living in their homes too long.

You can read more here and here.

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