New funding could reduce burden on Section 8 residents

 

Congressmember Jerrold Nadler said if the Department of Housing Preservation and Development changes its Section 8 policies, there must be "opportunity for public input."

Congressmember Jerrold Nadler said if the Department of Housing Preservation and Development changes its Section 8 policies, there must be “opportunity for public input.”

BY SAM SPOKONY | ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JAN. 10, 2013  |  Six months after heavily downsizing its Section 8 housing program due to budget cuts, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development expects it will soon receive new federal funding that should allow the agency to consider other — perhaps more popular — policy options.

In December, the U.S. Senate passed a two-year budget deal that provides about $22 billion in additional funding for all nonmilitary programs this fiscal year, while putting the allocation of that money back in the hands of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The deal was an important step in restoring some funding levels after the nationwide budget cuts that began in early 2013 with the implementation of the federal sequester.

Sources close to the situation in Washington, D.C., said on Friday that there’s been no word yet on how the new funding will be allocated, but that they expect to see some details finalized sometime over the course of the next week.

The sequester had forced H.P.D. to take a $35 million budget cut for 2013, and had a devastating impact on its Section 8 voucher program, which provides vital money for housing to around 30,000 low-income residents across New York City, including nearly 1,200 who live in the East Village or Lower East Side.

Last July, the agency scaled back Section 8 by forcing voucher holders to either pay a greater share of their rent or move to a smaller apartment, placing a huge burden on thousands of already struggling families who, on average, earn around $15,000 per year.

The move was soon criticized by numerous elected officials, including a coalition led by Congressmember Jerrold Nadler.

“We urge H.P.D. to re-examine these changes and consider alternatives that minimize the impact on our most vulnerable families and ensure there are no evictions of people currently receiving Section 8 vouchers,” said Nadler and nine other New York congressmembers, in a joint letter to the agency last September.

Now, with the new federal funding on the way, it appears that H.P.D. may in fact be open to considering alternatives.

An H.P.D. spokesperson said on Friday that, although Section 8 funding will certainly not be restored to pre-sequestration levels, the agency will have “more options” for managing its budget shortfall once the Senate Appropriations Committee finalizes its bill for allocating the new money.

The spokesperson added that, as the agency learns more about its new funding levels, it will coordinate with the Mayor’s Office to adjust its Section 8 policies, “if possible and appropriate.”

In a statement on Friday, Nadler stressed that any new changes to the housing program should be community-oriented, and should take into account the specific needs of low-income residents.

“If H.P.D. makes changes to its Section 8 policies, I expect that there would be a real public process and opportunity for public input,” Nadler said in an e-mail to The Villager. “Any policy changes must be structured to be the least burdensome possible for individuals and families who rely on Section 8.”

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7 Responses to New funding could reduce burden on Section 8 residents

  1. Please do something as quickly as possible. So many of us, tenants of Kips Bay Court, 2nd ave & 27th st are already being downsized against our will. Many like myself with disabilities and a Veteran . Please help NOW
    Thank You,,,,Mario Conti,

  2. Kelly Ann Junio

    Hudsonview Terrace – 747 Tenth Avenue building has a Supreme Court date on January 15, 2014 at 9:30 – 80 Center Street Room 289 – Judge Chan disputing downsizing and HPD charging us rent over 50% of our salaries. After HPD is claiming they have a $35 million dollar budget cut; HPD allowed our landlord to increase the contract rent portion of the enhanced voucher which makes the government pay more monthly.The contract rent has been above the HUD guidelines and now extremely higher. Please help us immediately!!! Thank you, Kelly Ann Junior

  3. It is unfortunate that landlords are permitted (such as in the development Kips Bay Court – the former Phipps Houses) to take prime real estate property for pennies on the dollar back in the 70's under the umbrella of affordable housing for middle class families.

    We were once a community of caring, working people raising families and sharing in community issues. Due to a loop hole in the system they (the landlords of Kips Bay) bought out prematurely and were once again able to tap in and capitalize on more government funding under a different program (HPD).

    The market rent difference between Mitchell Lama and HPD has resulted in astronomically higher rents as opposed to the modest Mitchell Lama rent agreement.

    Now here we are due to greed; the needs of the people are in jeopardy. Residents are being forced after many years of residency to downsize into uncomfortable situations. Single mothers living with growing male children forced to move into a one (1) bedroom apartment, Seniors and disabled citizens facing psychological and emotional trauma while the rest of us have to deal with the hand we have so unfairly dealt. We have been stripped of our rights to live in comfortable housing units, left feeling like disenfranchised people in a community we helped built, established and supported throughout the many years we have lived here.

    Many of us have gone through the first installment plan of the rich landlord vs. average tenant. Totally, destroying middle class family homes for the revolving door tenancy population of the today’s “partying” generation.

    And here we are again a few years later facing yet another residential onslaught.

    The majority of us have gone through the first installment plan of the rich landlord vs. average tenant. Totally, destroying middle class family homes for the revolving door tenancy population of the today’s “partying” generation.

    When does it stop!! Who advocates on our behalf after the election has been won?

  4. Downsizing is Un-American. What other recipients of a federal subsidy besides Section 8 vouchers have to vacate their home in order to close the proposed budget gap?

    According to HPD’s regulation 7.2.5 Exceptions to Subsidy Standards…HPD may grant an exception to these subsidy standards if the exception is justified by the age, sex, health, disability, relationship of family members, or other personal circumstances. Such exceptions may override the requirement of providing only a zero bedroom unit to a single person in the case of disabled, elderly or remaining family members. What are the exemption guidelines? HPD will not say.

    •What gives HPD the right to take it upon their agency to decide to not honor the terms of a voucher that THEY issued and distributed for many years? HPD would not comment.

    •Who will be responsible for the financial loss of household furnishing and goods that have to be discarded because they will not fit into a 0-Bedroom apartment? HPD would not comment.

    •Who will pay for the purchase of new appropriate size furniture for a
    0-Bedroom apartment? HPD would not comment.

    •Who will come in twice daily to open and close a sofa bed for a downsized elderly tenant? HPD would not comment.

    •Who will pay for the cost of moving? HPD said moving assistance could be provided by other agencies. Who will pay for those agencies? If those agencies have a surplus of funds, why don’t the put it toward keeping elderly people in their apartment that they have occupied for over 35 years?

    •Who has done a financial analysis that shows that downsizing tenants, paying for their loss of household furnishings, and the cost of new, appropriate size furnishings and the cost of moving to HPD will off-set the proposed $37 million dollar proposed budget Section 8 shortfall for this year?

    •If the financial analysis indicates that downsizing will not ease or even come close to a cost-savings for the proposed budget gap then why is it being instituted?

    •What confirmation do we have that the estimated shortfalls being attributed to Section 8 vouchers ONLY include Section 8 and not other programs that have nothing to do with Section 8 but get taken out of the Section 8 budget?

    •Who has done a financial analysis as to how HPD will handle the estimated $40 million dollar proposed budget Section 8 shortfall for next year?

    These points are just the "Tip of the iceberg" pertaining to a terribly conceived plan. Seniors who lived in harms way during Hurricane Sandy were moved to the safety of Elder Care homes. A study cited in USA Today showed that the death rate increased 158% in the first 90 days.

    We need a moratorium on downsizing until HPD shows what this plan will actually accomplish, not in theory, but in actuality.

    Rita Popper
    Co-Chair HAAD (Housing Alliance Against Downsizing)

  5. Kips Bay Resident

    I am a 56 year old single woman of modest means and have been living in Manhattan for 37 years. Before moving into Kips Bay (what was then Phipps Houses) I was living in very difficult circumstances and was very careful to investigate the arrangements here to ensure that I would not be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.

    I was happy to have decent affordable housing under the Mitchell Lama program. I paid 30% of my AGI for rent and utilities and was able to pay all my other expenses, taxes and began to save some rainy day money.

    Unfortunately I suffered a medical setback and was given a medical accommodation under DHRC to move into a 1 bedroom to accommodate my needs. The rent was a bit higher but I was still making it and very happy to have a roof over my head.

    At no time during this period was I given any indication by the manager that the Mitchell Lama program would someday end.

    When this came to light I was soon paying 39% of my gross for rent under HPD stucky 8 guidelines. Soon thereafter electric meters were installed and now I pay electric as well. I am currently spending about 50% of my income on rent and electricity. Is this affordable housing for low income people? It is not.

    The new HPD sticky voucher standards enrich the landlord and impoverish the tenants. Now I am being asked to move back to a smaller apartment again, after I was previously granted an exception. Plus I would still pay the same rent, pay moving costs and have to dispose of many of my possessions. This will further diminish my dwindling resources.

    Although I am not yet a senior citizen, I will be one in 6 years. This is NOT a good way to be entering this period of my life. I strongly urge the government and HPD to take serious look at the profiteering that has been going on since these properties have fallen out of Mitchell Lama jurisdiction and the serious negative economic impact the new policies have had on the population it was originally designed and built to help get into the economic mainstream of society.

    I urge all government officials and the new NYC administration to take a close look at what is going inside HPD.

  6. I feel for people that cant' pay but unfortunately there are alot of people taking advantage of the system

  7. I have lived in NYC for all of my 60 years. I lived with my mother, since we were a family, I moved back home after my husband died, I now had an infant daughter. So back into my old room I go. My mother, now retired received her sticky voucher and all was well. That is until HPD sends her a letter stating that she would be downsized to a one bedroom, I was curtly informed to move out of the house and take my child with me. My mother who is now in bad health suffers a stroke. HPD decides to postpone the downsize. From that point on she, my daughter and myself were harassed on a daily basis in the building and neighborhood. Now we lived in the neighborhood for 60 plus years. feels as if our lives were ripped apart intentionally and for what? Anyway, while recovering from her stroke an agent from HPD tells her we get a one bedroom. Now my mother is 90 something and needs help daily which I happily provided. The three of us sharing a room isn't good especially with a small child. Two weeks later HPD sends a letter rejecting the voucher after it was just renewed. The marshall shows up and tells us to 'get out, you're trespassing'. I grabbed what I could and my daughter and left. I'm now renting a room in a tenement in Brooklyn. My mother is now in a nursing home, which she doesn't want to be in. During this I had to drop out of college, up to my neck in debt, lost my job and almost lost my child. I receive no assistance what so ever, and if I go to whatever office I am sent to I am just ignored or told to get a job. In the process I have lost memories that cannot be replaced since everything we owned was taken. The court said deadbeats don't get to keep their possessions. I feel as if my entire life was destroyed. I wish they were all dead.

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