Impact of NYC voucher legislation could be limited by last-minute change

Apartments in New York City.
Apartments in New York City.
Finecki / Shutterstock
Housing advocates have concerns about language included in the New York City Council's rental assistance voucher bill.

Impact of NYC voucher legislation could be limited by last-minute change

Language added to the bill would cause recipients to lose their rental assistance vouchers once they earn 250% of the federal poverty limit.
June 1, 2021

The New York City Council passed legislation that would increase the value of rental assistance vouchers last week, which housing advocates celebrated as a step forward to help homeless New Yorkers.

But some advocates are saying they feel blindsided as the bill now includes a provision that would make the city vouchers expire once recipients earn 250% of the federal poverty limit, which amounts to just over minimum wage for a single adult in New York City, Gothamist reports. 

The bill, which is sponsored by Council Member Stephen Levin, would raise the value of vouchers to match those of Section 8 vouchers provided by the federal government. For a family of three, this means the amount of assistance they receive each month raises from $1,580 to $2,217.

Critics fear that the legislation’s impact will be hurt by the added language, as New Yorkers may be stuck between taking a new job or holding on to an apartment. A single adult with a voucher would lose the entire voucher if they made $32,000 or more annually.

Levin is now calling the language a “big and glaring issue,” telling Gothamist that he learned about the new language three days before the Council passed the bill and said the mayor's office made the change. Mayor Bill de Blasio has previously expressed reluctance about increasing the value of the city’s vouchers because he has wanted the state to take similar measures for state-funded vouchers.

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.