Proposed program that would help New Yorkers who are unable to pay rent closer to becoming reality

The Housing Voucher Access Program, or HVAP, aims to help those across New York who are either homeless or at risk of losing their homes make rent.

News 12 Staff

Mar 19, 2022, 2:52 AM

Updated 818 days ago

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A proposed program that aims to help those who struggle with or are unable to pay rent is one step closer to becoming reality.
Both the state Senate and Assembly are on board, and it's now up to Gov. Kathy Hochul to make sure it's in the state budget.
It's a rent relief proposal that's been floated for years. The lawmakers behind it say the need has never been greater, and it's time to act on it.
"There are 92,000 New Yorkers who are homeless, and this will begin to help them," says Brooklyn Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz, who championed up the program in Albany.
The Housing Voucher Access Program, or HVAP, aims to help those across New York who are either homeless or at risk of losing their homes make rent.
"This will act like a voucher, like a Section 8 voucher, and the money will go directly to the landlord," Cymbrowitz adds.
"This is a market rate voucher that folks can access. It will allow them to rent apartments at market rate in any community in New York City or New York state," says Joe Loonam, of the advocacy group Vocal-NY.
The statewide initiative would expand assistance to groups that are ineligible for similar vouchers already offered by the city and federal government.
"This program allows for undocumented to be taken care of as well. We are looking to get people out of shelters, and into safe, affordable housing," Cymbrowitz says.
"It costs about $4,000 a month for each shelter bed, HVAP is significantly cheaper than that," Loonam explains.
Loonam is hopeful this is the year the program is passed, with funding already approved by both the state Assembly and Senate.
"We are optimistic that we can get 20,000 vouchers, a little bit more than 20,000 vouchers out this first year," he says.
We're hoping so. The Assembly put in $250 million and so did the Senate. So, we agree on the importance of this program and now we will negotiate with the governor," Cymbrowitz says.
Discussions on that will happen over the next couple weeks as Hochul must sign off on the state budget by April 1.
If the Housing Voucher Access Program is included in the state budget, the New York Department of Homes and Community Renewal would be responsible for setting up the application process.


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