Hochul takes aim at homelessness: New legislation gets more families out of shelters, into their own homes

Local News

NEW YORK — Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday signed new legislation aimed at helping thousands of New York families leave shelters and avoid homelessness.

“You can not walk the streets of New York without seeing this human catastrophe, this humanitarian crisis,” Hochul said. “We’ll deal with people who are homeless now, but how about stopping more people from becoming homeless?”

According to the governor, the Family Homelessness and Eviction Protection Supplement (FHEPS) program will help thousands more New Yorkers move out of shelters and into their own homes. The bill was passed by state legislature in November.

State Sen. Brian Kavanagh, chair of the Senate Housing Committee, and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, chair of the Assembly Social Services Committee, sponsored the legislation.

“If we want to get people out of shelters, we have to give them enough money to afford the rent,” Hochul said on the legislation. “We understand that the rents are going up, inflation is going up.”

The program will bring the families’ voucher payment up to 100% of the fair market rate set by the federal government, according to the governor.

The bill will expand FHEPS access to serve more families, ensuring more people avoid eviction and are placed in stable housing. The bill also raises the rent cap from 85% to 100% of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Fair Market Rent, according to Hochul.

Raising the FHEPS levels and preventing more evictions will allow the state to achieve the mutual goal of keeping New Yorkers in permanent housing, out of shelters and connected to social services to enhance their ability to ultimately move off the caseload.

The Legal Aid Society predicted the change would help at least 2,300 additional New Yorkers, on top of the 12,000 people who already benefit from the program, Hochul said. “And 95% of those people would have been forced to remain in shelters,” she added.

Now, those people will be able to move into their own homes.

“Just like the pandemic hit the Black and brown communities the hardest, the evictions and the loss of the ability to afford homes hits the Black and brown communities hardest, as well. And that is something, I assure you, that my administration is going to be laser focused on,” the governor assured.

Hochul also promised the state and city would be working together to tackle homelessness in various ways.

“I look forward to working with incoming Mayor Eric Adams…and we’re going to be sitting down to come up with a cohesive strategy,” the governor said.

Watch the full press conference below:

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