June 25, 2021
By: Catherine Trapani, executive director of Homeless Services United and Kim Maloney, co-chair of the NYC Continuum of Care (NYC CoC) Domestic Violence Committee.
Prior to the pandemic, there were already over 43,000 people living in family homeless shelters here in New York City, including close to 25,000 children and teens. Now, due to job and income loss and heightened housing insecurity, thousands more vulnerable women and children are at risk of experiencing the life-altering trauma of homelessness.
We need every level of government—city, state, and federal—to step up and prioritize family homelessness prevention. This legislative session, the New York State Assembly and Senate passed an important measure that will help vulnerable families by improving the Family Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement Program (FHEPS). Assembly Bill A8009, soon to arrive on the governor’s desk, will increase FHEPS housing vouchers to fair market levels for families facing homelessness. New York City has already passed similar legislation and we look forward to the swift enactment of both bills to ensure families in New York City can sustain their housing long after the eviction moratorium ends. These are key steps in the right direction, but there is much more to be done.