Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi Applauds Velez Settlement as Critical but Limited Step in Reducing Homelessness

Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi Applauds Velez Settlement as Critical but Limited Step in Reducing Homelessness

Cautions that vast numbers of families not covered by settlement, remain at risk of homelessness

NEW YORK, N.Y. – I applaud the State’s decision to settle this case and provide a much-needed increase in rent subsidies for New York City families facing eviction or domestic violence. Our city is currently facing the greatest homeless crisis since the Great Depression, and this settlement is a significant step forward in addressing it. It’s well established that preventing homelessness is by far less expensive and more effective than trying to help families after the fact, and this settlement will ultimately save taxpayers money and help countless families avoid the devastating impacts of homelessness.

However, while this settlement is a significant first step, it still leaves major gaps in our efforts to stem the rising tide of homelessness across our state, and would not help the vast majority of New Yorkers at risk of losing their homes. It does not provide any assistance to individuals outside New York City; it does not help families without minor children, and it does not provide the full support that families facing homelessness need. Current rent supplements are woefully inadequate for New York families facing homelessness and only a few thousand are available to anyone in counties outside New York City. The Home Stability Support plan, which continues to gain support from advocates and community leaders, will do far more to address the crisis. It would offer a statewide, financially-sound program to help tens of thousands of individuals and families at risk of homelessness, and take into account the real costs faced by New Yorkers in terms of rising rental and heating costs in cities across the state, as well as our overburdened shelter systems and eviction courts.

Our state should act not only to correct the harm done by illegally low housing benefits for families in New York City, but for individuals and families throughout the state. It’s time we take proactive steps to get families the help they need. This will not only help our state save taxpayer money in the long run, but also ensure the safety and security of thousands of New Yorkers now in some of the most difficult and dangerous situations imaginable.

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