View Full Version : (((Lawmaker Levin))) wants to nix time limits on housing vouchers for homeless

The Bobster
06-28-2017, 09:54 AM

Lawmaker wants to nix time limits on housing vouchers for homeless
By Michael Gartland
June 28, 2017 | 11:22am

Stephen Levin
Natan Dvir

A Brooklyn lawmaker is pushing to remove time limits on housing vouchers for homeless families, saying the current five-year cap is too short.

The proposal, which is being floated by Councilman Stephen Levin (Beanie-Brooklyn), would, as he put it Tuesday, grant vouchers to the families “in perpetuity” or until they are able to afford apartments on their own.

“The reality is our status quo right now — over 58,000 people homeless in New York City, over 22,000 children homeless, over 12,000 families — is unacceptable,” Levin said at a City Hall press conference before a Council hearing on the issue.

“We have a moral obligation to do everything we can to find permanent housing to the families in shelters.”

Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who now heads the homeless services provider WIN, predicted the bill would cost the city “nothing.”

She said taxpayers would actually save money because the city would spend less on vouchers — in the ballpark of between $1,500 and $2,000 a month for families — than the $3,000-a-month cost for shelters. :rolleyes:

“It’s not a cost,” she said. “It’s a savings to the city.”

But critics noted the vouchers are entirely subsidized by city taxpayers, while shelters are partly paid by the state and feds.

“This would shift the cost to us,” said one city official.

One budget expert said that based on the available information, it would be difficult to quantify any additional costs or savings to the city.

“The fear here, even if the math works, is it creates another entitlement,” she said.

Levin’s legislation would also require that the housing vouchers be pegged to the current fair market rent rates set by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, currently $2,102 for a three-bedroom apartment. The city now provides a maximum of $1,515 for that size unit.

Social Services Commissioner Steve Banks didn’t rule out Levin’s proposal, but testified that such a change could lead to “legal issues” connected to a recent court ruling that set rent levels for one city-funded program.

​”We will consider the issues raised by the legislation,” he said. “We also have to evaluate whether this well-intentioned legislation presents any legal issues.”​

Another bill under consideration would eliminate the 90-day waiting period for vouchers people leaving foster care now face