Mayor Adams expands housing voucher program statewide in response to migrant surge

New York City Mayor Eric Adams issued an emergency order that will allow residents of the five boroughs the ability to use their city-funded housing vouchers anywhere statewide.

Jonathan Gordon

Sep 27, 2023, 11:01 PM

Updated 203 days ago

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New York City Mayor Eric Adams issued an emergency order that will allow residents of the five boroughs the ability to use their city-funded housing vouchers anywhere statewide.
“These reforms will give longtime New Yorkers the ability to move out of our city’s shelter system to other parts of the state with more affordable housing options, while simultaneously opening up space in our city’s shelter system for the approximately 10,000 migrants who continue to arrive in the city seeking shelter month after month," said Adams.
The decision comes in response to the growing number of migrants arriving in New York that the city is responsible for housing. The hope is this plan will free up space in the city's shelter system to make room for incoming asylum seekers.
"We know that the only way that we're going to get out of this crisis is getting people connected with the support they need so that they can move out of shelter and build stable self-sufficient lives," said Anne Williams-Ison, New York City deputy mayor for health and human services.
Payment standards will be adjusted based on the fair market rent levels of each locality and all apartments will be required to pass a physical or virtual walkthrough, by existing DSS policy.
Before the spring of 2022, the New York City Department of Homeless Services shelter census was approximately 45,000 people - down from a previous peak of about 61,000. Now, the total number of individuals in the city’s care, including both longtime unhoused New Yorkers and asylum seekers stands at more than 113,000 — more than doubling in just over a year, according to city officials.
The announcement has drawn some strong criticisms, including from Republican Rockland County Executive Ed Day. He called it a 'slight of hand.'
"They're going to displace the people in Rockland County who are looking for shelter. We cannot pick up that extra," said Day.
Some affordable housing advocates have also raised concerns about the viability of the program pointing to the extremely low number of fair market housing units available on the market right now across the state. Christa Hines is the president of Hudson River Housing, an affordable housing development nonprofit that helps roughly 3,000 people annually and supports 800 housing units primarily in Dutchess and Orange counties.
"I understand that providing the city with the opportunity to move up to other parts of the state sounds good in theory, but there are just no units up here," said Hines.
Day said his office is considering all legal options in opposition to Adams' executive order.
"Any kind of action along the lines described is a direct violation of the state of emergency," said Day.
The new initiative is expected to begin as soon as next week.


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