News

Weekly RxHome Roundup: Latest News on Homelessness, Housing, and Health Care

(RxHOME) June 31, 2021

After releasing erroneous results late Tuesday, the City Board of Elections released the actual preliminary, unofficial and incomplete results from the June 22 primary elections on Wednesday. Keep in mind that these results do not include absentee ballots and are not official – the city board of elections expects to have final results by July 12, although it may take several more weeks before they’re certified

RESOURCES & UPDATES

  • Find all COVID vaccinations sites in NYC here and walk-up sites here.
  • The New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) opened on June 1, 2021. The program will help households below 80% of the area median income pay back rent or utility payments (arrears) for any period after March 2020. Immigrants without legal status are eligible and this helpline provides assistance specifically to immigrant households. Please see the website for exact eligibility criteria and note that benefits are not guaranteed.
  • The IRS released a new tool that helps people who haven’t recently filed taxes get their stimulus checks. This could be especially helpful for people experiencing homelessness. More details from the IRS are here and NYC-specific info is here.
  • New York State eviction moratorium is in place until August 31, 2021. A hardship declaration form must be sent to your landlord and local courts to put an eviction case on hold – use this website to file the declaration form online.
  • The federal eviction moratorium is in place through July 31, 2021.
  • NYS waived the “Lawsuit Requirement” which makes families provide proof of eviction in order to be eligible for the FHEPS rental assistance program–until at least August 31, 2021 (or when the state eviction moratorium ends).

NEW YORK CITY NEWS

  • On Wednesday, the Housing Rights Initiative, a NYC-based watchdog group, sued 36 realtors and landlords in New York for source of income discrimination (Vox June 30, 2021)
  • Jeffery Brenner, of The Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, authored an op-ed calling on New York State to devote more resources to supportive housing and for greater collaboration across the state to connect people to supportive housing as a cure for homelessness. (New York Daily News June 30, 2021)
  • After receiving pressure from advocates, the city committed to providing taxis to transport students experiencing homelessness and those with disabilities enrolled in the Summer Rising program back to their homes at the end of the day. (Chalkbeat June 29, 2021)
  • The city continues to move individuals placed in hotels being used as shelters during the pandemic back into congregate shelters. Advocates (including RxHome) have voiced concern that the city does not seem to be using this move as an opportunity to connect more people with permanent housing. (City Limits & The City June 28, 2021)
  • Advocates continue to call for the city to reinstate the online tool JustFix, which allowed individuals to file complaints against landlords online during the pandemic. It was rendered unusable when the city reinstated filing fees and a requirement for notarization. (Queens Daily Eagle June 28, 2021)
  • Jacquelyn Simone of the Coalition for the Homeless called on the federal government to instate universal Section 8 rental assistance vouchers, akin to how SNAP benefits are available to everyone who is eligible. Section 8 vouchers are currently capped and waitlists can cause wait times of over a decade. (City Limits June 28, 2021)
  • The Crain’s editorial board called on the next NYC mayor to address the following issues immediately upon entering office: crime; housing affordability; homelessness; support for life sciences; and reducing business restrictions. (Crain’s New York Business June 28, 2021)
  • Governor Cuomo committed $11 million in funding to support expansions of two supportive housing projects in upper Manhattan. (AMNY June 27, 2021)
  • The New York Times editorial board called for New York State to encourage local governments to loosen residential zoning laws to allow for more multi-family zoning in areas with LIRR access. The board argues that the state should use the continuation of its subsidy of the LIRR as leverage to create more affordable housing. (New York TimesJune 26, 2021)
  • Advocates are calling on the city to convert vacant hotels to permanent housing, especially housing modeled after the SROs of the mid-twentieth century. These SROs offered a low-cost, no frills housing option, but were largely closed due to community safety concerns. (Curbed June 25, 2021)
  • In a follow-up to previous coverage, a new ruling issued by a state appellate court will put an end to the misuse of stay-away orders. While well-intentioned, these protection orders have had disastrous consequences for low-income defendants who have yet to be convicted of anything, often separating them from their homes and children as they wait for a hearing. (New York Times June 25, 2021)
  • The Ali Forney Center, a nonprofit dedicated to serving LGBTQ+ youth, opened a new facility in upper Manhattan to provide housing to trans youth experiencing housing instability. (ABC NY June 24, 2021)
  • Curbed profiled Angela Stovall, an intervention manager at the city’s Commission on Human Rights, who resolves many of the source of income discrimination complaints the city receives from households trying to rent apartments using housing vouchers, like Section 8. (Curbed June 24, 2021)
  • Catherine Trapani, director of Homeless Services United, and Kim Maloney, co-chair of the NYC Continuum of Care Domestic Violence Committee, called on city, state and federal government actors to play a role in addressing family homelessness in NYC. (City Limits June 24, 2021)
  • A piece about the issues the new NYC mayoral administration will face highlights the top contenders’ plans around homelessness and affordable housing, as well as crime, unemployment, education and child care. (Washington Post June 24, 2021)

NATIONAL NEWS

  • Across the country, hotels and motels that became home to the homeless during the pandemic are reopening to tourists, forcing residents back to congregate shelters. While some states have used federal pandemic relief funds to purchase hotels and convert them to permanent housing, thousands of individuals experiencing homelessness across the country are anxious and distressed about returning to shelters or the street. (AP News June 27, 2021)
  • Jacobin called on lawmakers to extend the CDC eviction moratorium past July, restrict public access to eviction records and ban exclusionary zoning laws, especially those that restrict multifamily housing and establish minimum lot sizes. (Jacobin June 27, 2021)
  • Governor Newsom of California extended the statewide eviction moratorium until September 30 and will provide $5.2 billion in back rent for tenants and landlords. California lawmakers are hopeful that federal rent relief will be distributed by the end of September. (Cal Matters June 25, 2021)
  • CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has signed an extension to the eviction moratorium from June 30, 2021 to July 31, 2021, further preventing the eviction of tenants who are unable to make rental payments. The Supreme Court also declined to take a case challenging the moratorium, further ensuring the moratorium will stay in place. (CDC June 24, 2021)
  • The cities of Dallas and Mesquite, Texas announced a $70 million joint effort to reduce homelessness in the area. The funds will go towards rehousing over 2,600 people experiencing homelessness. (CBS Dallas-Fort Worth June 24, 2021)

Source: RXHOME