FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 7, 2010
SCHUMER CALLS ON HUD TO TAP EMERGENCY FUNDS TO SAVE THOUSANDS OF NEW YORK SECTION 8 TENANTS THAT COULD BE EVICTED
United States Senator Charles E. Schumer, in a personal appeal to Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, called on HUD to use a $150 million emergency fund to keep over 10,000 New York families from losing their homes. The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), facing an almost $50 million deficit, has announced is may be forced to revoke Section 8 rental assistance vouchers to thousands of families as a result of a dispute with HUD over payments and NYCHA’s continued issuance of vouchers in the face of cuts.
“Congress appropriated $150 million for emergency situations, just like this one, and HUD should use it” said Senator Schumer. “It is simply unacceptable that thousands of residents could lose their homes.”
Several months ago, NYCHA rescinded vouchers from households that were under the assumption that they would receive housing assistance largely due to low attrition rates. These households, which include intimidated witnesses, youth aging out of the foster care system, victims of domestic violence and referrals from the New York City Department of Homeless Services, became victim at a time when housing assistance was – and continues to be – needed most.
As economic conditions and unemployment rates worsen, NYCHA is now considering terminating households that are currently receiving assistance from the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program as it appears to have leased more units for the months of October, November and December, 2009 than the monthly stated average for fiscal year 2009.
In his letter to Secretary Donovan, Schumer noted, “It’s crucial that NYCHA is able to continue serving low income households by maintaining the provision housing assistance to current voucher recipients. The termination of households that hold Section 8 vouchers would be catastrophic for New York City. I strongly encourage HUD to work with NYCHA to see that households are not taken off of this program by awarding the authority additional assistance to address their current budgetary shortfall.”