As City Prepares for Fifth Annual Homeless Street Count Tonight, Mayor Announces 22,000 New Vouchers Will Increase Access to Affordable Housing
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chairman Tino Hernandez today announced the availability of 22,000 new Section 8 housing vouchers for very low-income families seeking affordable housing in New York City. Because of the availability of new vouchers, NYCHA’s Section 8 voucher waiting list will reopen for the first time in 12 years. Individuals and families who secure Section 8 vouchers can seek housing in a neighborhood of their choice from any private landlord who accepts the vouchers. The Mayor also announced that 3,000 of these vouchers will be targeted specifically to households at risk of homelessness. With a voucher, qualified families pay 30% of their income toward the Fair Market Rent set by the federal government; NYCHA pays the remainder directly to the private landlord. The announcement was made at the Queens Section 8 Applications Office in Corona as the Department of Homeless Services and the City of New York prepares for the fifth annual Homeless Street Count tonight.
“Our efforts to expand access to affordable housing have taken a step forward today,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “In addition to the 165,000 units of affordable housing we have committed to building or preserving by 2013, we are able to distribute these 22,000 new section 8 vouchers to families struggling to make ends meet. Continued Federal support for Section 8, as well as public housing, is critical to ensuring people from all backgrounds can raise families in New York City, and we’ve been aggressive in our advocacy. I would like to thank HUD Secretary Alfonso Jackson and our entire Congressional delegation for their critical support on this issue.”
“NYCHA is pleased to be able to offer New York City residents the chance to apply for Section 8 housing,” said NYCHA Chairman Tino Hernandez. “For the first time in more than a decade we will be able to offer vouchers to people from the general community, mainly due to Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership on the issue of affordable housing and the support of Congress.”
In December 1994, NYCHA closed its Section 8 waiting list except for emergency applicants because of a drop in federal funding for Section 8 vouchers. The 22,000 new vouchers – 12,000 this year and 10,000 next year – are available because of changes made at the local and Federal level. In Washington, Federal funding for Section 8 housing was increased by nearly $100 million. Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Congressional delegation, including Congressman Charles Rangel and Senator Charles Schumer, have worked to repeatedly ward off cuts and win increases in the program’s budget.
The availability of these housing vouchers is also a result of reforms to the City’s homelessness policies. For much of the past decade, available Section 8 vouchers were distributed to families leaving homeless shelters to secure permanent housing. In 2004, the Bloomberg Administration created Housing Stability Plus, the most generous local rental assistance program in the nation, as a new resource for those leaving shelter. Since that time, Housing Stability Plus has helped nearly 10,000 families leave shelter. Vouchers have been and will continue to be made available on a priority bases to domestic violence survivors, families reunifying from foster care, and intimidated witnesses. Further, 200 hundred vouchers have been allocated for individuals who are chronically homeless and are not part of the shelter system.
NYCHA’s Section 8 program is the largest in the United States. NYCHA administers over 83,000 Section 8 vouchers serving over 270,000 New Yorkers. Over 30,000 private landlords accept the vouchers. Income limits for Section 8 are set by the Federal government and vary depending on the number of people in the household. For instance, an individual who earns less than $24,800 a year or a family of four making less than $35,000 could qualify for Section 8 assistance.
NYCHA is also currently undertaking a comprehensive effort to identify and find people who signed up for Section 8 housing vouchers as long ago as 1993, but who are no longer reachable at the address or telephone numbers given when they joined the list. Any of these households identified and who remain eligible will be given priority for these new vouchers. New Yorkers who believe they were on this list should contact NYCHA’s Application Offices through 311.
A new Section 8 application form will be available to applicants at any of NYCHA’s Borough Applications Offices. Applications will also be available at all NYCHA Management Offices. For a complete list of addresses, applicants can visit the NYCHA website at www.nyc.gov/nycha or call 311. Section 8 applications from the general public will be accepted for a three-month period beginning February 12, 2007. Applications must be postmarked no later than May 14, 2007. Applications can be sent to NYCHA immediately, but will not be officially accepted until February 12, 2007. NYCHA will not accept any applications delivered to their offices. Completed applications must be mailed to:
Post Office Box 445
Church Street Station
New York, NY 10008-0445