New York City Council moves to boost value of rental vouchers

New York City Council Member Stephen Levin.
New York City Council Member Stephen Levin.
John McCarten / New York City Council
New York City Council Member Stephen Levin sponsored the bill expanding the value of city rental assistance vouchers.

New York City Council moves to boost value of rental vouchers

The legislation would significantly expand the number of apartments New Yorkers with vouchers can access.
May 28, 2021

The New York City Council passed legislation yesterday that increases the value of rental assistance vouchers, making it easier for homeless New Yorkers to access apartments, The New York Times reports. 

New Yorkers with vouchers provided by the city have long struggled to actually get apartments with them, in part because of their comparatively low value. The vouchers currently cover $1,265 per month for a single adult and just $1,580 per month for a family of three. 

The bill, sponsored by Council Member Stephen Levin, would raise the value of vouchers to match federally funded Section 8 vouchers. This means a family of three could get assistance for $2,217 in monthly rent with the city’s housing vouchers. 

As a result, the number of apartments eligible for recipients expands significantly. An analysis by the real estate website Streeteasy last year found that just 564 apartments offered rent low enough to be accessible to New Yorkers with vouchers. This legislation would increase that number to about 72,000 apartments.

The bill is now headed to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has been hesitant to raise voucher limits in the past because he wants the state to similarly increase the value of the state’s vouchers. Without such a boost, de Blasio said, landlords may discriminate against New Yorkers with housing vouchers from the state.

Both landlords and housing advocates celebrated the bill’s passage. “Given the plight of families and with federal relief on its way for emergency rental assistance, there has never been a better moment to make this investment in longer-term housing stability,” reads a statement from the Family Homelessness Coalition.

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