HRA HOME Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Program
Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments
Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule
In order to implement the Mayor’s priority of assisting families and individuals experiencing homelessness in securing and maintaining stable and permanent housing in the community, the Commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) proposes to add Chapter 10 to Title 68 of the Rules of the City of New York to continue implementation of the HRA HOME Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (HRA HOME TBRA) Program. The program, which was established by emergency rule issued on July 31, 2015, will provide rental assistance to a limited number of families with children, adult families and pregnant women currently residing in New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and HRA shelters, as well as chronically street homeless individuals. To be eligible, households must be in receipt of supplemental security income, social security disability insurance benefits, social security survivors insurance benefits or social security retirement benefits. This proposed rule is substantially similar to the emergency rule, but clarifies a number of provisions, including those addressing the household’s contribution towards the rent and absences from a unit towards which HRA HOME TBRA assistance is being applied, and also adds a section addressing break-ups of applicant and participant households.
There is an urgent need for this program. Shelter census data shows that the number of families with children and adult families in the DHS shelter system remains extremely high, even taking into account the hundreds of families who have already been able to leave shelter under existing HRA rental assistance programs.
Specifically, between January 1, 2002 and December 31, 2013 the number of families with children in the DHS shelter system increased by 63 percent, including an 80 percent increase in the number of children. As of May 29, 2015, there were 11,689 families with children in the DHS shelter system, including 23,331 children. Similarly, the number of adult families in the DHS shelter system increased by 59 percent between July 1, 2004 and December 31, 2013.
As shelter census has increased, the DHS shelter system has continued to experience extremely low vacancy rates. Indeed, on September 23, 2015, the vacancy rate for shelters for families with children was 0.84 percent and the vacancy rate for adult family shelters was 0.48 percent.
Census data also demonstrates the urgent need for an additional program available to chronically street homeless individuals. In addition to the men and women in DHS shelters for single adults and adult families, the City estimates that as of January 2015 there were over 3,000 unsheltered individuals living on the streets, in parks, and in other public spaces of the City, including the subway system.
Finally, shelter census data also shows the urgent need for a rental assistance program targeted to those in receipt of various forms of social security benefits. Households in receipt of such benefits comprise approximately 24 percent of the families with children and approximately 40 percent of the adult families in the City shelter system. A number of individuals served in DHS Street Homeless Programs who are in receipt of social security benefits may also benefit from this program.
Over a two-year period, the HRA HOME TBRA Program will assist approximately 1,250 households to obtain permanent housing and become securely housed in the community.
HRA’s authority for this proposed rule may be found in Sections 92.205 and 92.209 of Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations; the City of New York’s Consolidated Plan, promulgated pursuant to Part 91 of Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations and approved by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development on May 29, 2015; 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.
“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of this department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.