The cancellation of the housing vouchers program by the governor of the New York budget leaves supporters wondering why

Prolonged negotiations pondering the state budget may yield results some Albanian lawmakers wanted, such as an additional $ 7 billion in childcare subsidies supported by Gov. Kathy Hochul, or a $ 600 million cash flow to help build a new football stadium. In the governor’s hometown for the Buffalo Bills.

But what the budget did not include was funding that state lawmakers have long sought to create a subsidized housing program for 40,000 to 50,000 homeless New Yorkers and those at risk of falling into homelessness. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.

“The governor’s people were just like, ‘No, we’re not interested in this plan at any cost and it’s not on the table,'” said Senate Treasury Secretary Liz Kruger, a Democrat representing Manhattan.

Last week, when Wachoul and state legislators were in the final stages of budget negotiations, governors’ representatives estimated the rent assistance program could cost $ 6 billion, according to Kruger and other lawmakers familiar with the private talks. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.

Kruger and others said they were unsure how the Hochul administration had reached $ 6 billion because no cost analysis had been produced.

Joseph Lonem, a housing organizer at the advocacy group VOCAL-NYC, which supported the legislation, said he was disappointed with the governor’s decision not to fund it.

“They just inflated those costs to be a whole lot higher than anything we’ve ever modeled, and I think it was done in bad faith,” Lonem said.

The speaker did not respond to a request for comment. Neither Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stuart Cousins ​​and Assembly Speaker Carl Histy, both of whom supported the legislation, responded to requests to comment.

The proposal, known as the Housing Access Voucher Program (HAVP), was designed under the Federal Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, and it received broad support from tenants and homeowner groups, including the Community Improvement Housing Program, or CHIP, a group made over 4,000 Owners of units that will be placed primarily in rent, The Legal Aid Society, and the Community Service Society of New York, an anti-poverty organization.

Under the plan, people eligible for vouchers would spend no more than 30% of their income on housing. The state would cover the balance of payments.

The proposal, which was also available to undocumented immigrants, called for half of the $ 250 million to be transferred to homeless people and families, and the other half to help low-income tenants facing imminent evacuation.

As of January 2020, in New York State there were approximately 91,300 people experiencing homelessness on any given day, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The legislature’s main sponsor, Senator Brian Kwana, said the $ 6 billion estimate that Hochul and his team predicted was probably based on the assumption that the rent assistance program would expand to pay for anyone in the country who might be eligible for the subsidy.

“It’s a strange way to think of such a plan, if you say there is so much need for permanent housing that we will do nothing,” said Kawana, a Democrat whose county includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. .

Legislators, however, have not sought funding to cover any eligible person in the state. They asked for $ 250 million to create 20,000 vouchers, Kawana said.

Even if the program expands in later years, which its supporters said they hoped to do, their analysis showed it would cost about a billion dollars to pay for every homeless household across the country that needs a voucher.

“It has come to my attention that there is a narrative among skeptics about the plan that the cost of HAVP will increase to $ 6 billion. There is no reason for this concern,” wrote Samuel Stein, a senior policy analyst at the New York Community Services Association, in a memo sent to legislative leaders on April 1. “The plan will not grow substantially by itself. Yes, the cost of rent can continue to rise over time, but not at a rate that will result in a $ 250 million commitment to block anywhere near $ 6 billion over the next 100 years.”

Jay Martin, CEO of CHIP, a group of homeowners, said the $ 6 billion price tag does not make sense because the governor and lawmakers in the state decide how many vouchers they want to create, and they could limit the amount of money they wanted to spend.

“The question is not whether it is necessary. It is a question of whether there is a desire to find the money to pay for it,” Martin said. “It’s an old, old, old trick, not just from this governor but many governors, when they say I would love to do it, but I can not do it because your cost estimates are very far away.”

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