What is the Housing Access Voucher Program?
This bill will set up a statewide rental subsidy program for low-income families and individuals who are facing eviction, currently homeless, or facing loss of housing due to domestic violence or hazardous living conditions.
HAVP would be available to undocumented New Yorkers, New Yorkers with prior felony convictions, and New Yorkers with no income, none of whom are currently eligible for local or federal rental assistance programs.
HAVP will curb evictions, give homeless people a path to a roof over their head, and could be bundled to subsidize affordable housing construction.
Why Do We Need It?
New York is becoming more unaffordable, and more and more people are finding themselves homeless every day. Yet New York’s voucher programs currently aren’t serving the most vulnerable people in our state. As a result, too many New Yorkers are falling through the cracks without access to permanent housing, putting severe strain on shelter systems across the state.
Today, our shelter system is dangerously overcrowded, and local providers have struggled to find space for the influx of families being evicted, as well as the thousands of asylum seekers who have entered the shelter system this year. It is dangerous to keep so many people in these situations for so long, especially given the risks of infectious disease like COVID-19 in shelters and the violence people on the streets have faced in the past two years.
How Will HAVP Work?
HAVP would help low-income New Yorkers achieve stability and retain permanent housing by subsidizing their rent. Tenants would contribute 30% of their income toward rent, with the rest covered by subsidies. The payment standard for HAVP would be 100% of Fair Market Rent.
How Much Will HAVP Cost?
At least 50% of funding will be required to go toward homeless families.
Why should New York pay rent for people who aren’t citizens?
Undocumented New Yorkers live, work and pay taxes in our communities. It is shameful that thousands of people who have contributed to our society would be kept in undignified, often dangerous conditions simply because of our country’s broken immigration system.
Why should NY pay rent for people who have committed felonies?
Every year thousands of people are released from prison with nowhere to go, and many spend years stuck in congregate, dormitory style shelters. The goal of our public policy should be to help people get their lives back on track, and help them seek out opportunities for employment, education, and/or healthcare. No one can effectively accomplish these things without adequate housing.
How can New York afford to subsidize people’s rents without dramatically increasing taxes on everyone?
Doing nothing is not free. Shelters are wildly expensive, and many of the costs are paid for by the state – i.e. through our tax dollars. Housing insecurity also leads to higher indirect costs, such as health care, food stamps, and other social services. Vouchers are a tremendous return on investment, saving us millions in the long run.
- NY Communities for Change
- Make The Road New York
- Neighbors Together
- Homeless Service United
- Citizen Action New York
- Community Service Society
- Women In Need
- Community Voices Heard
- NY State Council on Churches
- Interfaith Assembly on Housing
- Churches United for Fair Housing
- Ecclesia Ministries
- Faith In New York
- ++many more