City Limits Opinion: Home Stabilty Support needed now to boost rental assistance amid COVID-19


March 23, 2020

As New Yorkers collectively strive to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the need for a safe and stable roof overhead has never been more important. Nonprofit housing providers and community development corporations (CDCs) are on the front lines of the fight to protect these homes, ensuring the continued provision of quality housing and services for thousands of low-income and vulnerable New Yorkers across the state.

But these providers will soon face severe financial pressure themselves, creating a cycle in which tenants struggle to pay rent due to loss of income and decreasing cash flows render providers unable to serve their tenants. Statewide emergency relief measures are needed to keep these vital organizations funded and to support them in adapting to fill the gaps left by schools and other vital community centers.

The good news is that this particular challenge is solvable: a bill being considered by the State Legislature – known as Home Stability Support (HSS) – would help do exactly this. HSS is a statewide program that would provide rental assistance for New Yorkers who qualify for public assistance benefits and who face eviction, homelessness, or loss of housing due to domestic violence or hazardous living conditions.

HSS would ensure that our state’s most vulnerable residents can continue to afford rent and remain in secure homes in these uncertain times and even after the current eviction moratorium ends — in turn, helping to keep all New Yorkers safe as we follow mitigation measures. Just as crucially, HSS would also protect housing providers and help to maintain their stability now that it’s most needed.

Read full op ed by Judi Kende.

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