Mixed Feelings About Mandatory Savings for NYC Homeless

(CITYLIMITS.ORG) September 21, 2019 

The city is proposing a savings program where employed homeless persons who reside in a shelter will be mandated to hand over nearly a third of their earned monthly income. The de Blasio administration says the savings will aid those residents in their eventual transition out of the shelter system.

As part of the proposed Income Savings Plan program, New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and residing in a shelter will be required to deposit a portion of their earned income, generally 30 percent, to a savings account.

The first phase of the program will begin with employed single adult individuals residing in the city’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS) shelters with earned income high enough to make them ineligible for cash assistance.

As the program continues, DHS plans on applying the program to additional populations with earned income such as families with children, a move tentatively scheduled for next year. The savings would be maintained by the Department of Shelter Services (DSS) and would become available once program participants exit the shelter. The savings amount is based on earned income adjusted by how much time the participant spends in the shelter.

“Our goal is to assist New Yorkers with saving in order to more effectively help them plan for the future and get back on their feet, ensuring they can utilize savings from earned employment income to move out of shelter into housing and setting them up for sustainable, long-term stability,” said DSS spokesperson Isaac McGinn in an email statement.

As of August 27th, there are 37,674 adults and 21,279 children, totalling 58,953 persons within the city’s shelter system.