City Council Passes Legislation in Increase Value of Rental Assistance Vouchers

Image credit: New York City Council.

The increased voucher amounts help take advantage of decreased rents. On May 27, 2021, the New York City Council passed legislation that increases the number of apartments available to homeless New Yorkers and helps move more New Yorkers out of shelters and into permanent housing.  The legislation, titled Int. 146-C, requires the City to pay higher rates to homeless New Yorkers receiving rental assistance vouchers and eliminates the program’s previous five-year cap for vouchers. The bill was sponsored by Council Member Stephen Levin.

Before Int. 146-C was passed, vouchers were capped at $1,265 a month for a single adult and $1,580 for a family of three or four. However, under this bill, voucher rates must now align with Section 8 rates. Section 8 allows $1,945 for a one-bedroom apartment or $2,217 for a two-bedroom apartment and is known as the most successful rental assistance voucher nationwide.

By increasing the dollar value of each voucher, the City has increased the number of units available to individuals and families with vouchers. As stated in the City Council’s press release, record-high rent drops and high inventory levels from COVID-19 have more than doubled the number of homes on the market that are deemed affordable for Section 8 voucher participants. The bill enables more New Yorkers to move out of homeless shelters and into stable housing.

Int. 146-C also removed limits on the amount of time qualifying rental assistance recipients can receive the voucher. as According to the bill, as long as recipients remain eligible for the vouchers, they will continue receiving them after the five-year period has finished.

Council Member Stephen Levin  commented, “this bill will be transformative for thousands of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and will allow many families to finally find permanent, stable housing. The change to raise voucher amounts is an investment in housing and the fight against homelessness, and an affirmation of the human right to housing.”

Access the full legislation here.

By: Victoria Agosta (Victoria is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)


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