The City Family Eviction Prevention Supplement Program and the City Family Exit Plan Supplement Program (“CITYFEPS Programs”)
Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments
Statement of Basis and Purpose
In order to implement the Mayor’s priority of preventing homelessness and moving families with children into stable housing, the Commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) proposes to add Chapter 8 to Title 68 of the Rules of the City of New York to continue the implementation of two new rent supplement programs. The City Family Eviction Prevention Supplement Program and the City Family Exit Plan Supplement Program (collectively, the “CITYFEPS Programs”), which were designed in consultation with the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and established by emergency rule issued on April 17, 2015, provide a monthly rent supplement to families with children who are in receipt of Public Assistance benefits from HRA and who have lost or are losing their housing as a result of an eviction proceeding, a foreclosure proceeding, a City agency vacate order, domestic violence, or other health and safety reasons, or who currently reside in a DHS shelter that has been identified for imminent closure. The supplement enables families to rent apartments at competitive market-rate rents based on 2014 New York City Housing Authority Section 8 Voucher Payment Standards. The emergency rule was limited to families with children. The proposed permanent rule makes the program available to pregnant women as well in order to be consistent with a similar State program.
There is an urgent need for these programs. Shelter census data shows that the number of families with children in the DHS shelter system is at a record high, even taking into account the hundreds of families who have already been able to leave shelter under existing HRA rental assistance programs targeted to families with children.
Specifically, between January 1, 2002 and December 31, 2013, the number of families with children in the DHS shelter system increased by 63%, including an 80% increase in the number of children. As of April 6, 2015, there were 11,766 families in the DHS shelter system, including 23,816 children. There are nearly 3,000 families with children currently in DHS shelter as a result of eviction. The increase in the shelter census is primarily because the length of stay of families in shelter has increased while the number of exits has declined. For example, the length of stay in shelter for families with children increased approximately 20% between August 2012 and December 2013.
As shelter census and length-of-stay rates have increased, the DHS shelter system for families with children has experienced its lowest vacancy rates since 2005. Indeed, on April 8, 2015, the vacancy rate for families with children in the shelter system was .72%. Although 1,566 units have been added to the shelter system for families with children between April 8, 2013 and April 8, 2015, the system continues to experience high capacity levels due to the decline in vacancy rates.
Census data also demonstrates the urgent need for an additional program available to families whose lives have recently been affected by domestic violence. As of April 3, 2015, there were 1,021 households, including 1,570 children, in HRA domestic violence shelters, and more than 725 families in the DHS shelter system were survivors of domestic violence certified by HRA.
Finally, there are a number of shelters for families with children that have been identified for imminent closure. Providing a rent supplement is the best way to enable families in these shelters to be rapidly re-housed with as little disruption as possible. Providing a rent supplement to families in a closing shelter, rather than relocating such families to another shelter, will allow them to exit the shelter system and remain in the community where the shelter is located. This will permit stability and continuity in connection with schools, jobs, and community resources and services.
Over a twelve-month period, the CITYFEPS Programs will assist approximately 1,000 families with children and pregnant women to secure permanent housing in the community. Subject to the availability of funding, the rent supplements will be continued indefinitely for these families so long as they remain eligible for these programs.
HRA’s authority for this proposed rule may be found in sections 34, 56, 61, 62, 77, and 131 of the New York Social Services Law and sections 603 and 1043 of the New York City Charter.