Special Exit and Prevention Supplement (SEPS) Program

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Effective Date: 
Thursday, December 24, 2015

Statement of Basis and Purpose

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) amends 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, those 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, adults in DHS shelter who were in foster care or a residential institutional facility prior to entering shelter, and survivors of domestic violence who have reached their maximum length of stay in HRA shelter or who are in DHS shelter, but have not refused placement in an HRA shelter.  A proposed rule to make the program permanent was published on October 16, 2015.  The only non-technical change that has been made from the proposed rule is that this final rule gives HRA the ability to change the time period in which single adults currently in DHS shelter must have resided in shelter to be eligible for the program.

The 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 November 13, 2015, 17,246 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. For example, 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.

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 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.