Special Exit and Prevention Supplement (SEPS) Program
Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments (View Public Comments Received:2)
Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule
Statement of Basis and Purpose of Rule
In order to implement the Mayor’s priority of preventing homelessness and moving adults from shelter into stable housing, in a joint effort with the Commissioner of the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), the Commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) proposes to amend Chapter 8 of Title 68 of the Rules of the City of New York to continue the implementation of a new rental assistance program. The Special Exit and Prevention Supplement (“SEPS”) program, which was established by emergency rule issued on August 26, 2015, is available to certain single adults and adult families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including veterans, adults who are residing in DHS shelters who have lost or are losing housing as a result of an eviction proceeding, a foreclosure proceeding, a City agency vacate order, or for health and safety reasons, or who were in a residential institutional facility prior to entering shelter, or who have been certified by HRA as survivors of domestic violence.
This proposed rule differs from the emergency rule establishing the SEPS program in the following ways:
· This proposed rule does not include a requirement, included in the emergency rule, that veterans currently in single adult shelters have resided in shelter at some point between May 1, 2015 and July 31, 2015;
· Consistent with an emergency rule issued on September 2, 2015, the proposed rule allows a household in receipt of rental assistance under the Living in Communities (“LINC”) VI program to receive SEPS if the household meets the initial eligibility requirements for SEPS, except for the requirement that the household currently reside in shelter;
· Consistent with corresponding amendments to the LINC programs and the City Family Eviction Prevention Supplement Program and the City Family Exit Plan Supplement Program (“CITYFEPS programs”), this proposed rule includes provisions authorizing HRA to: (1) increase the maximum rents for households with five or more individuals where HRA has determined that they are unlikely to secure housing within the next 90 days at the rents otherwise permitted in the programs; and (2) pay one year of rental assistance payments in advance to a landlord who has entered into a lease with a program participant for a unit that was used as DHS shelter immediately prior to lease signing. Additionally, consistent with the amendments to the LINC and CITYFEPS programs, this proposed rule clarifies how the rent supplement amount is calculated; and
· This proposed rule includes minor technical (non-substantive) amendments clarifying the timeframe for requesting a review conference or administrative appeal.
The continued need for the SEPS program is established by census data from DHS showing that the number of single adults and adult families in the DHS shelter system remains high, while the DHS shelter system for these populations experiences low vacancy rates.
Specifically, between July 1, 2004 and December 31, 2013, the number of adult families in the DHS shelter system increased by 59 percent. Similarly, there was a 20 percent increase in the average daily census for single adults during the same time period. As of October 9, 2015, 16,860 individuals in total were in DHS shelters for single adults and adult families.
As shelter census has increased, the DHS shelter system has continued to experience extremely low vacancy rates. Indeed, on October 9, 2015, the vacancy rate for adult family shelters was 0.11 percent and the vacancy rate for single adult shelters was 0.7 percent. DHS anticipates further strain on the single adult and adult family shelter system in the coming months.
Further, the City is currently faced with the critical need to find stable housing for hundreds of individuals who have been required to leave “three-quarter housing” for health and safety reasons. Many of these individuals are currently occupying temporary housing pending relocation to permanent housing and are at risk of shelter entry if permanent, affordable housing cannot be found. SEPS is urgently needed to provide rental assistance for many of these individuals to enable them to avoid entry into the DHS shelter system and relocate to stable housing.
SEPS provides an important new option for single adults and adult families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness that will allow more people to move from shelter to stable housing and decrease the number of entries to shelter, helping to reduce demands on the shelter system.
HRA’s authority for this emergency rule may be found in sections 34, 56, 61, 62, 77, and 131 of the New York Social Services Law, sections 603 and 1043 of the New York City Charter, and section 352.6 of title 18 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations.