Richards, Council Push for Home Stability Support
In response to New York City’s growing homeless crisis, a broad coalition of city elected officials led by Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Donovan Richards, his fellow Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Antonio Reynoso, Public Advocate Letitia James, Councilman Barry Grodenchik, Deputy Majority Leader, and Councilman Stephen Levin, chair of the Committee on General Welfare formally announced their endorsement of Home Stability Support (HSS), a proposal to increase the state’s outdated rental assistance subsidies and prevent New York families from becoming homeless. They join a growing coalition of advocates, unions and representatives calling on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to include the plan in the state budget, spurred by record-breaking homeless populations in the city and tens of thousands of families on the brink of homelessness statewide.
The announcement came during an afternoon press conference and rally on the steps of City Hall on Nov. 22.
“It is about time that we focus on real solutions to our homeless crisis and in order to do that, we need the state to step up and do its part by taking advantage of the opportunity of the Home Stability Support plan,” said Richards. “We need to tap into federal resources that are available to help keep people in their homes and fund necessary homeless resources and all of this can be done while saving millions of dollars in state and city funding. For those marching against homeless shelters in their neighborhoods, this is a real solution, so we ask you to march for this plan.”
The press conference also included advocates from the Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless, who stood with the elected officials during the gathering. Both organizations are part of the HSS coalition and have been active in briefing stakeholders statewide on the plan.
In declaring their support for HSS, the city officials join a growing statewide coalition of elected officials and advocates urging Albany to include the proposed rent supplement in the next state budget. Prior to 1975, the vast majority of families on public assistance had their rent paid in full. However, lagging state and federal housing investments, coupled with skyrocketing rental costs, have left tens of thousands of New York families at risk of losing their homes.
The coalition anticipates that HSS would cost $11,224 per year for a household of three in NYC. Meanwhile, the cost of shelters in NYC is $38,460 for a family with children. The net savings for taxpayers is $27,236 per year. Similar savings would be realized in counties throughout the state.
This would also translate into savings on related services such as emergency room visits, law enforcement costs, housing court costs, and programs and shelters for runaway youth. Just preventing the process of eviction in the Bronx and at housing courts statewide has the potential to save taxpayers millions of dollars. A recent analysis by the NYC Bar Association found that preventing the evictions of roughly 5,000 households could save $251 million a year in New York City alone.
Most recently, the coalition picked up the endorsement of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys - UAW Local 2325, which represents the lawyers and legal advocates providing pro bono assistance to families facing evictions.
On Nov. 29, The New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials (NYCOM), representing the state’s 62 cities and 550 villages, today announced its endorsement of HSS.
“With homelessness on the rise, much of the burden for providing essential services to vulnerable families falls on municipalities,” said NYCOM Executive Director Peter Baynes. “Home Stability Support is a fiscally-sound proposal that will help keep more families in their homes and, in the process, ease the growing financial burden local governments face. NYCOM is proud to partner with the Home Stability Support coalition in urging Albany to include the plan in the next state budget.”
The press conference and rally comes amid growing concern over record homeless populations across the city and state. A report released last week by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated 73,523 homeless people in New York City.