The Real Deal New York

Officials say federal Section 8 proposal won’t work in NYC

They argue the city doesn't have enough housing for the change
August 17, 2016 06:10PM

From left: Bill de Blasio, Chuck Schumer (credit: Getty) and 4002-4004 Carpenter Avenue in the Bronx

From left: Bill de Blasio, Chuck Schumer (credit: Getty Images) and 4002-4004 Carpenter Avenue in the Bronx

State and city officials are railing against a federal proposal to ramp up Section 8 rental subsidies in higher-income neighborhoods, saying it won’t work in apartment-strapped cities like New York.

In June, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed increasing these rental subsidies in high-income neighborhoods and decreasing them in lower-income neighborhoods as a way to encourage subsidy recipients to move into wealthier areas and have access to better schools, jobs and opportunities. But officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Chuck Schumer, argue that the shift wouldn’t accomplish this, Gothamist reported.

A spokesperson for the mayor told the website that there aren’t enough apartments in the city’s neighborhoods to accommodate the 119,000 voucher holders. Instead of moving to higher-income neighborhoods, under this proposed change, these tenants will either be forced to pay higher rents in their current homes or be forced out of the city, the spokesperson said.

In an open letter to HUD, Schumer and Rep. Nydia Velazquez wrote that the change would decrease voucher amounts for some 56,000 Section 8 tenants.

“These individuals and families will be expected to move to a higher-income neighborhood, be forced to re-negotiate with their landlord for a lower rent, or assume a significantly higher rent burden in order to stay in their home,” the letter states.

A HUD spokesperson noted that under the proposed change, New York would have the option to grandfather current Section 8 voucher holders. And there likely wouldn’t be new holders for some time: The vouchers have been closed to city applicants since 2009. [Gothamist]  — Kathryn Brenzel