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Now You Can Get Your Housing Voucher Illegally Denied Outside of NYC Too

And other links that will definitely fix our housing crisis.

9:38 AM EDT on September 27, 2023

(Hell Gate)

Mayor Eric Adams has a housing problem—there's not enough of it, and the rents for available apartments remain at historic highs. Throw in the City's difficulties in housing recently arrived migrants, and what we have is a complicated mess that even the most competent mayor, in the best of times, would find challenging. 

There are, of course, some immediate if limited solutions our mayor could pursue—fixing up the growing number of vacant NYCHA apartments more quickly, for one—but they cost money that our austerity mayor isn't willing to spend. Case in point: Earlier this summer, the City Council moved to expand access to the City-funded rental voucher program, known as CityPHEPS, as part of a package of bills meant to help people move out of the shelter system and into permanent housing. Adams vetoed those bills, arguing that it would be too costly. (The Council quickly overrode his veto, and Adams, who threatened to sue the Council, has yet to make good on his word.) 

But on Tuesday, the Adams administration announced that there's one change they're eager and more than willing to make. For the first time, NYC residents with CityPHEPS, will be able to use those vouchers to cover the cost of housing anywhere in the state. 

"These reforms will give longtime New Yorkers the ability to move out of our city's shelter system to other parts of the state with more affordable housing options," Mayor Adams told Gothamist in a statement. "We hope our partners across the state will greet these longtime New Yorkers with open arms and good job opportunities." (Good luck with that, truly.)

In a joint statement, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala, both of whom had sparred with the mayor during the veto fight, seemed to welcome the change. "This announcement to allow CityFHEPS to be used outside of New York City is a positive step that will help longtime New Yorkers find housing and economic stability," they wrote, before cautioning, "It will be important to ensure that there are clear policies on transfers to allow New Yorkers with CityFHEPS vouchers to move back within our city."

It's not easy for CityPHEPS voucher holders to find an apartment here. A lot of landlords refuse to accept voucher holders, and the cap on the voucher amount makes finding an affordable apartment in the five boroughs challenging, if not almost impossible. It makes sense to give people more options, though it's hard to avoid the feeling that our mayor is merely looking to export our low-income housing crisis to other parts of the state. (Plus, it's not like there's a ton of affordable housing outside the city, and many of the same issues that make it hard to find housing with a voucher in NYC exist throughout the state—as just one example, housing discrimination complaints are on the rise in cities like Buffalo.)

And there are, of course, a lot of unknowns, namely, how many people will actually use the vouchers to find housing in other parts of the state, given that people's jobs and social networks are here in the five boroughs? This change is expected to go into effect as early as next week, so we'll find out soon enough. 

And some links that will definitely fix our housing crisis:

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