NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Friday, June 16, issued emergency rules eliminating the 90-day length-of-stay requirement for New Yorkers in shelter to be eligible for City Family Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement (CityFHEPS) housing vouchers — the largest city-funded rental assistance program in the nation — vastly expanding the number of New Yorkers in shelter who will now be able to access city-funded rental assistance. Effective immediately, families as well as individuals in shelter will have expanded access to city-funded rental assistance and expedited connections to permanent housing. With New York City continuing to manage the unprecedented asylum seeker crisis largely on its own, this emergency rule will build on progress to quickly move New Yorkers out of shelter and into permanent housing.
“(Today,) we’re taking our efforts to house more New Yorkers to the next level — building on our work expanding voucher eligibility, cutting red tape, and reducing bureaucracy that we’ve focused on since day one,” said Mayor Adams. “By removing the 90-day length of stay requirement for our CityFHEPS rental assistance program for individuals and families in shelter, we’ll help more people exit shelter for permanent housing faster. To really build the housing New Yorkers need, the state Legislature must pass a 421-a replacement, allow more office conversions, and lift the cap on housing in Midtown Manhattan. We’ll continue to advocate for those changes and use every tool available to move New Yorkers into homes.”
The announcement builds on last year’s robust package of CityFHEPS reforms Mayor Adams implemented to help New Yorkers exit the shelter system and move more quickly into permanent affordable housing. The New York City Department of Social Services (DSS) has also made numerous technology, staffing, process, and training improvements over the past year to expedite shelter move-outs. These improvements have resulted in an overall increase in exits from shelter to permanent housing across all shelter populations during the first four months of Fiscal Year 2023, with the largest increase in placements moving New Yorkers into subsidized housing and contributing to a more than 40 percent increase in placements for single adults residing in shelter.
“The changes announced will help us more efficiently provide families and individuals with the services and housing supports they need,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “This new tool will help us to connect New Yorkers experiencing homelessness with more permanent housing.”
“From day one, the Adams administration has put New Yorkers, especially those experiencing homelessness, at the center of our city’s housing policy and committed to slashing through the red tape and dysfunction that keeps a safe, dignified home out of reach for too many of our neighbors,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “CityFHEPS vouchers have proven themselves to be an effective tool for getting our fellow New Yorkers into stable, long-term housing options and we are thrilled to expand this opportunity to more families and individuals.”
The program established under the CityFHEPS rule allows individuals and families to rent apartments at competitive market-rate rents based on the annual New York City Housing Authority Section 8 Payment Standards. By eliminating the length of stay requirements in shelters through these emergency rules, additional households will be eligible to move out of shelter and into permanent housing.
With a vacancy rate for affordable housing ranging between one and five percent, many New Yorkers have a difficult time finding an apartment even after receiving a voucher. To address this issue, the Adams administration has focused on accelerating production of new housing and advancing development projects in neighborhoods around the city. Mayor Adams also continues to call on the state to take action on a new affordable housing incentive program — easing conversion of vacant offices to housing and eliminating the cap on housing in Midtown Manhattan.
Since the implementation of city-funded rental assistance in 2014, nearly 150,000 New Yorkers in 63,000 households have been helped to move into permanent housing or remain stably housed. So far this fiscal year, from July 2022 through April 2023, DSS has connected a record number of households to CityFHEPS vouchers, and is on track outpace the number of households connected to CityFHEPS in prior years. Currently, the CityFHEPS program alone supports 30,000 households by providing a rental subsidy.