NEW YORK, N.Y. - With the April 1st deadline for the state budget just days away, New York City's four Democratic borough presidents - representing more than 7 million New Yorkers - are joining a growing coalition of advocates and elected officials in calling on Governor Cuomo to back Home Stability Support, a proposal to address the state's growing homeless crisis. Borough Presidents Eric Adams of Brooklyn, Gale Brewer of Manhattan, Ruben Diaz, Jr. of the Bronx, and Melinda Katz of Queens formally endorse Home Stability Support, a program introduced by Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi (D - Queens), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Social Services, and Senator Jeffrey Klein (D - Bronx) that would create a new rental subsidies for families facing homelessness due to eviction or domestic violence.
This week, New York City Borough Presidents Adams, Brewer, Diaz and Katz announce their endorsement of Home Stability Support as a solution to a homeless crisis that in recent years has reached epidemic proportions. Statewide, more than 150,000 children homeless and another 80,000 families are on the brink of homelessness.
Nowhere is this crisis more acutely felt than in New York City, where rising housing costs coupled with woefully inadequate shelter allowances have led 127,000 New Yorkers to sleep in shelters during the last fiscal year ending in June 2016. While rental subsidies in the city and across the state have averaged between $200-$400 for a family of three, Fair Market Rents, as determined by the federal government, are often many times that.
Home Stability Support would address this growing disparity between rents and subsidies by scrapping the current hodgepodge of aid in favor of a single rental supplement. The new supplement would bring subsidies to within 85% of Fair Market Rent, and include a home heating component to reduce utility burdens for hundreds of upstate families. Local municipalities would have the option of contributing funds to subsidize the program up to 100% of Fair Market Rent.
The five leading New York officials join a growing coalition of advocates, organizations and politicians in supporting the innovative proposal. Since first being introduced this fall, the Home Stability Support coalition has picked up the endorsement of more than 100 non-profit organizations, mayors and county executives, the Senate's IDC and mainline democratic conferences, and over 110 members of the State Assembly.
The coalition’s ultimate goal is to urge Governor Andrew Cuomo to support the inclusion of the proposal in the final state budget, due on April 1st. Currently, Home Stability Support is in the Assembly one-house budget with a five-year phase-in beginning with a $40 million price tag in the first year. In a first, the plan has also been prioritized in the IDC’s own one-house budget released last week.
In addition to addressing homelessness, supporters of the proposal are also touting potential savings to taxpayers. A recent analysis by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer found that by its tenth year in operation, Home Stability Support would save the city $316 million in social service costs provided to homeless families.
"Our homelessness crisis did not appear overnight, and it will not disappear without an all-in, innovative strategy that introduces stability into a highly unstable situation for hundreds of thousands of New York's children and families. Home Stability Support is not complicated; it simplifies our opaque subsidy structure to ensure those in greatest need have the easiest path to safe and secure affordable housing. This proposal, in concert with more robust City and State partnership and greater community engagement, will turn the tide in this fight,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
“There’s no magic bullet to solve our homelessness and affordable housing crises, but real solutions start with real investment,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Assemblyman Hevesi is right – a streamlined, state-backed rental subsidy program would make a huge difference in reducing homelessness.”
“We need to do more to provide families and individuals with the resources they need to prevent homelessness, and the Home Stability Support plan will help do that. It just makes sense to help a family with their rent, rather than put them up in a hotel, during a time of crisis. Keeping people in their homes, rather than having them enter the shelter system, is a common sense, economically sound way to prevent future homelessness and promote neighborhood stability. I’m proud to join Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi, State Senator Jeff Klein and so many others in support of this worthwhile proposal ” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi has developed a strong statewide plan to keep folks in their homes while saving taxpayer money. It is pragmatic, and I support it,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “The enhanced assistance called for in Assemblymember Hevesi’s Home Stability Support proposal would help close that gap and allow more people to stay in their homes, while also reducing the costs associated with sheltering the homeless. Home Stability Support is an effective, cost-efficient way to reduce the need for homeless shelters, which offer less than ideal living conditions and are often sited in inappropriate locations.”
“Nowhere is scope of the state’s homeless crisis more apparent than right here in New York,” said State Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi. “I commend Borough Presidents Adams, Brewer, Katz and Diaz for joining myself, Senator Klein and our entire coalition behind Home Stability Support, and for committing to bringing real change to rental assistance programs that have simply failed our families for far too long.”