**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE** CITY COUNCIL, MAYOR BLOOMBERG SENATOR SCHUMER AND GOVERNOR PATERSON ANNOUNCE $32 MILLION PLAN TO RESOL

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THE
COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

 

CITY HALL

NEW YORK,
NY 10007

(212) 788-7116

**For Immediate Release**                                                                                                              

July 1, 2010

 

Contact: 212-788-7116

Release # 075-2010

                                                                                                               

CITY
COUNCIL, MAYOR BLOOMBERG SENATOR SCHUMER AND GOVERNOR PATERSON ANNOUNCE $32
MILLION PLAN TO RESOLVE NEW YORK CITY’S
SECTION 8 RENT VOUCHER CRISIS

 

Plan
Will Restore All Previously Withdrawn Vouchers for Roughly 2,500 Families and
Save Vouchers for Another 4,000 Families that Were At Risk of Losing Them

 

CITY HALL – The New York City Council, Mayor Michael
R. Bloomberg, Senator Charles E. Schumer and Governor David A. Paterson today
announced a $32 million plan to resolve New York City’s Section 8 rent
voucher crisis. In 2009 and 2010, falling tenant contributions occurred
simultaneously with lower than normal attrition rates, leading to a budget
shortfall in the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) Section 8
program and at housing authorities nationwide. In New York City, that resulted in rental
vouchers withdrawn for roughly 2,500 families – including 750 that then
left shelters – and another 4,000 families whose vouchers were put at
risk. The plan announced today will restore or save all 6,500 vouchers. In
addition, a HUD proration and increased attrition reduced program costs,
bringing NYCHA’s budget shortfall to $16 million.

 

Since December, when the 2500 vouchers were rescinded, the Council has
worked diligently to find a solution to this problem, including holding two
hearings on the issue and meeting with the administration and agencies. 
This solution will involve the Council providing $7 million in capital funds to
HPD to cover the shift in federal capital dollars into the voucher program.

 

“I’m proud of this plan not only because of the
collaboration it shows but also that our City’s government truly cares
– and will act – on behalf of the most vulnerable New
Yorkers,” said City Council Speaker
Christine C. Quinn. “I want to thank my colleagues here at the
City Council – Public Housing Chair Rosie Mendez, General Welfare Chair
Annabel Palma, Housing and Buildings Chair Erik M. Dilan – for acting so
quickly once we heard that 2,500 families had gotten their vouchers revoked. We
had two hearings, immediately began discussions with NYCHA and HPD, and now have
provided $7 million in this plan so that these low-income New Yorkers
wouldn’t end up on the street. I want to especially thank Mayor Michael
R. Bloomberg, Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Rafael Cestero,
NYCHA Chairman John Rhea, Secretary Shaun Donovan, and State Housing
Commissioner Brian Lawlor for working with the Council and coming to a solution
to help these families.”

 

“Through the collective work of government at multiple levels, we
will ensure that low-income New Yorkers currently residing in affordable
apartments through the Section 8 program will not be at risk of losing their
homes or spending more money towards shelter in these tough economic
times,” said Council Member Rosie
Mendez, Chair of Public Housing Committee. “Additionally, the
fact that we will be able to grant vouchers to 1500 of the 2500 homeless
families whose vouchers were rescinded in December of 2009 goes a long way to
stabilizing those families and their expectations for permanent affordable
housing.”

 

“I am delighted that thousands of low-income NYC families can
finally breathe a sigh of relief after months of gut-wrenching worry over
losing their Section 8 vouchers,” said
Council Member Annabel Palma, Chair of the General Welfare Committee.
“I applaud the solution that the Administration, HPD, HUD, NYCHA, and Speaker Quinn
crafted.  Their hard work results in appropriate housing for some of our
most vulnerable residents including homeless individuals and families, domestic
violence victims, youth aging out of foster care, families reuniting out of
foster care, and intimidated witnesses.”

 

“This proposed Section 8 solution is another example of what can
happen when city, state and federal agencies work together to assist families
in their quest to obtain decent and affordable housing,” said Council Member Erik Martin Dilan, Chair of the
Council’s Housing and Buildings Committee. “I commend
the Speaker for her tireless efforts
to help these at-risk families obtain Section 8. I also commend the
Administration, NYCHA, HPD, DHCR and HUD for working creatively to solve this
problem in a positive manner.”

 

“In recent weeks, city, state and federal officials have devised
a solution that will keep thousands of families in their homes, while helping
thousands more find one,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “By working
together we were able to solve a crisis.  Many people played an integral
role – including Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Rafael
Cestero and Housing Authority Chairman John Rhea – and I particularly want
to acknowledge Speaker
Quinn, Secretary Shaun Donovan and State Housing Commissioner
Brian Lawlor for helping us arrive at this solution.”

 

“This is a creative and correct way to provide desperately needed
housing to our most vulnerable residents and solves the dilemma created by
oversubscribing the program.  NYCHA, HPD, and DHCR have come together to
help the 6,500 families across the city that were at risk of losing their
housing and it was the right thing to do,” said Senator Schumer. “The
termination of households that hold Section 8 vouchers would have been
catastrophic for these families, but thankfully, with some creativity and quick
thinking, a human disaster has been diverted. I will continue to work with
city, state and federal officials to see that New York families continue to have access to
the affordable housing they deserve.”

 

“This plan will provide peace of mind to thousands of individuals
and families whose basic need for housing was threatened by the sudden loss of
rental subsidy,” said Governor David A. Paterson. “I commend
Commissioners Lawlor and Cestero for developing a plan that uses existing
resources to serve families in need, and HUD for allowing it to quickly move
forward. This is the kind of collaborative and efficient strategy that is
called for in these tough economic times, and it will allow vulnerable New
Yorkers to rest easy in their homes.” 

 

The plan announced today will both solve NYCHA’s budget shortfall
that had put 4,000 families at risk and provide vouchers for the roughly 2,500
families that saw vouchers withdrawn. NYCHA’s original shortfall of $45
million – which at the time had put as many as 10,000 families at risk
– was reduced significantly earlier this year when HUD, with the support
of Senator Schumer, committed $24 million to NYCHA and other funds to nearly
600 housing authorities across the country that had seen costs rise in their
programs.   In addition, a HUD proration and increased attrition
reduced program costs, bringing NYCHA’s budget shortfall to $16 million.
To fund the remaining $16 million gap, HUD has agreed to transfer NYCHA Section
8 participants to Housing Preservation and Development’s Section 8
program, allowing HPD to use its budget reserves to relieve NYCHA of the cost
of maintaining these vouchers.

 

The City will take several steps, at a total cost of $16 million, to
restore the vouchers for the roughly 2,500 families that saw vouchers
withdrawn. Of the 2,500 families, 1,500 will require a voucher in 2010: 750
will receive Section 8 help from HPD, using voucher authority transferred by
the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, and 750 will
receive a new rental subsidy being created by HPD from its federal HOME program
funding. This program will be modeled to mirror Section 8, and families
receiving the HOME assistance will eventually be picked up by NYCHA’s
Section 8 program when funding becomes available. The City Council has
committed to providing HPD with $7 million in capital funds to make up for the
loss of federal funds. NYCHA will issue vouchers to the remaining 1,000
families in 2011. The City will allocate vouchers to families in order of need,
based on risk factors that include previous shelter history, victims of
domestic violence, intimidated witnesses, families awaiting unification with
children in foster care pending suitable housing, and families with new lease
commitments.

 

“Mayor Bloomberg has continued to show tremendous leadership in
challenging agencies to work together to craft innovative solutions to the
increasing demand for housing assistance,” said NYCHA Chairman John B.
Rhea. “NYCHA is pleased to be part of a solution that allows a record
number of families to receive assistance from New York City’s combined Section 8
programs. I’d like to extend particular thanks to advocates and elected
officials who kept the focus on this important issue and to my colleagues at
HPD, DHCR, and HUD for the months of work that went into today's
announcement.”

 

“For many families in New York City, Section 8 rental assistance
makes the difference between having a stable and secure place to call home and
being homeless,” said Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner
Cestero. “Crafting a way to back vouchers with available funds by sharing
resources has brought what has been an unsettling period for thousands of New
Yorkers to a close.  This joint and collaborative Federal, State and City
effort has resulted in the restoration of Section 8 rental assistance to those
who are most in need and has allowed us to put our available resources to work
to their advantage. I would like to thank the Mayor, Speaker Quinn, Chairman Rhea,
Commissioner Lawlor and HUD Assistant Secretary Henriquez for their unwavering
support of this plan.”  

 

“This unprecedented and innovative response will provide security
and certainty for individuals and families who rely on the Section 8 voucher
program for their housing needs,” said Division of Housing and Community
Renewal Commissioner Brian Lawlor. “Our plan to rescue the homes of
families whose rental subsidies were jeopardized combines the available
resources of both agencies and puts them to work in a smart and creative way.
DHCR will allocate 750 of its Section 8 vouchers so that HPD can absorb 750
from the New York City Housing Authority to serve at-risk families. I want to
thank the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for acting quickly
to authorize DHCR and HPD to move forward with this plan. And I thank Rafael
Cestero, Commissioner of HPD, and Mayor Bloomberg for their perseverance in
addressing the loss of vouchers that put 2,500 families at immediate
risk.”

 

The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) is a federally funded
rental subsidy program assisting over 125,000 families in New York City. Families pay approximately 30
percent of their income in rent, with the subsidy covering the rest, up to a
payment cap.

There are three public housing authorities operating Section 8
programming in New York City:
The New York City Housing Authority, the New York City Department of Housing
Preservation and Development, and the New York State Division of Housing and
Community Renewal, which runs a statewide program. While NYCHA’s program
is open to eligible members of the general public, Housing Preservation and
Development’s program typically serves families residing in buildings
being constructed, renovated, or preserved as part of the City’s New
Housing Marketplace Plan.

 

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