REBNY appreciates the urgency by the agency to implement the requirements of Intro 146-C to increase rent levels to CityFHEPS prior to the statutory deadlines. It is encouraging that the rule furthers the spirit of the legislation by raising the maximum rent levels for apartments to NYCHA Section 8 standards, including a clarification that SCRIE and DRIE households can also access CityFHEPS if otherwise eligible, and the simplification of the street homeless definition. Collectively, these changes will help more households to access or maintain their permanent housing.
In coordination with the organizations that have spearheaded efforts to increase voucher payment standards and access, REBNY echoes the calls of these groups to further improve the CityFHEPS program through the rules amendment process to ensure those at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness can access the program in a timely manner and provide long-term housing stability that slowly tapers off assistance as tenants’ incomes rise over time. Current eligibility requirements are counter intuitive to fostering long term financial mobility and an overly burdensome process unduly punishes eligible tenants and creates frustration for owners and tenants alike.