Public comments for: Miscellaneous Amendments Relating to the LINC and CITYFEPS Programs

Comments

Comment:
Miscellaneous Amendments Relating to the LINC and CITYFEPS Programs Sanctuary for Families cannot stress enough the critical need for affordable permanent housing for domestic violence survivors in NYC. Affordable housing continue to be a major barrier for individuals to regain independence from their abusers. Ted McCourtney, Director of Sarah Burke House, Sanctuary’s 58-family domestic violence shelter in the Bronx, sees firsthand and on a daily basis the tremendous need for viable housing subsidies for clients in domestic violence shelters. NYC devotes considerable resources to supporting a robust domestic violence shelter network. Sanctuary encourages women to escape dangerous relationships. Sanctuary offers them safe, confidential shelter, where they and their children have access to extensive wraparound services. Sanctuary’s shelters provide families the opportunity to begin putting their lives back together again, and clients that enter our shelters make significant progress toward stability and self-sufficiency during their time with us. However, much of this stability is destroyed if there are not safe housing options available to Sanctuary shelter residents at the end of their shelter stay. In 2013, when housing supports were not available to families at Sarah Burke House, we were able to move only 18 families into permanent housing – in the entire year. However, with the new housing programs instituted by Mayor de Blasio through the Human Resources Administration (HRA) under the leadership of Commissioner Steven Banks, such as LINC, Section 8, CITYFEPS, and NYCHA now available to our clients, Sanctuary has been able to place 53 families into permanent housing, including 24 families utilizing the LINC subsidy, so far in 2015. However, it is exceedingly difficult to continue to find viable apartments that fit within the rental parameters of the subsidy. Therefore, we support the proposed amendment to authorize HRA to increase the maximum rent for the LINC and CITYFEPS programs for households with 5 or more individuals. We are in support of any initiative to raise LINC rent levels and better align the subsidy with the current housing market. We also support the proposed amendment to extend eligibility for LINC to pregnant women. Currently, only families are eligible for the subsidy; pregnant women need to wait until they give birth before they can access LINC. As a result, pregnant women stay in shelter longer. If pregnant women were eligible for LINC, they could transition into permanent housing earlier and develop a level of stability in their lives before their child is born. The LINC program has proven to be a tremendous resource for our families in shelter – allowing them to maintain stability. Sanctuary for Families fully supports the continuation, and strengthening, of the LINC program. Hon. Judy H. Kluger Executive Director
Agency: HRA