Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal Reports Housing Access Voucher Program in First Housing Committee Meeting

New York, NY – Today, in her first meeting as Chair of the Committee on Housing, Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF -Manhattan) reported the landmark Housing Access Voucher Program (HAVP). The bill, A.4201, sponsored by Assemblymember Rosenthal, already has 60 Assembly co-sponsors, and is widely supported by a powerful coalition of tenants, housing advocates and real estate. 

“HAVP is the urgent lifeline housing-insecure New Yorkers have been desperately clamoring for,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “With this vote, the Assembly Housing Committee has signaled its commitment to those living on the precipice of eviction or clawing their way out of shelter: we will use every tool at our disposal to create a more affordable and just state. HAVP is a ladder out of poverty, and as a legislative body, we have a moral obligation to ensure every New Yorker can climb its rungs into safe, secure housing.”

HAVP would create a statewide voucher program for homeless New Yorkers and those at risk of eviction. The state-level voucher, which is modeled on federal Section 8, would cap a person’s rent at 30% of their income. Voucher standards would be pegged to 90 to 120% of an area’s fair market rent. 

Eligible households must have earnings equal to or less than 50% of area median income (AMI). Approximately 50% of a jurisdiction’s HAVP funds would be distributed to homeless households, with 85% of the program’s funds to be earmarked for those with incomes at 30% AMI or below. For those at imminent risk of eviction, eligible households with a history of homelessness will be given priority. 

Three other states, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts, have already enacted statewide voucher programs. 

“New York cannot continue decades of status quo housing policies that have not kept pace with the need for affordable units," said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “Without bold action and innovative solutions, our most vulnerable neighbors will continue to languish on our streets and in shelter. HAVP is an important puzzle piece in solving the State’s affordable housing crisis, and as such, must be given the attention it rightfully deserves in the Governor’s Executive budget this Fiscal year.”

“HAVP will serve as a critical tool to prevent homelessness and keep families housed, especially at a time when tens of thousands of families across New York State are experiencing homelessness or facing eviction,” said Judith Goldiner, Attorney-In-Charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “Governor Hochul and the Legislature have an opportunity to create a robust safety net to keep New Yorkers housed, and we call on lawmakers to ensure that this proposed allocation is adopted in the final budget come April 1. The Legal Aid Society lauds Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal for her steadfast support of this needed legislation.”

"Rental assistance is good for everyone. Especially when paired with basic eviction protections, like Good Cause, HAVP provides a solution to our State's persistent housing crisis," said Cea Weaver, Campaign Coordinator at Housing Justice for All. "Thank you to Housing Chair Rosenthal for passing this critical bill out of the housing committee. Tenants and homeless New Yorkers across the State are eager to work with the Assembly and the Senate to make HAVP law this year!"

“With nearly 75,000 New Yorkers homeless each night and countless others at risk of eviction, we commend the New York State Assembly Housing Committee for voting to advance the Housing Access Voucher Program (HAVP), which would help people across our state access and afford their homes,” said Baaba Halm, vice president and New York market leader at Enterprise Community Partners. “We applaud Chair Rosenthal for her leadership in moving this critical legislation forward, and we look forward to working with her and the full Assembly and Senate to ensure that HAVP is funded in the upcoming state budget to foster housing stability for New York residents.”

“With homelessness rising and rents outpacing wages across New York State, we need not just more housing, but more tools to make housing affordable for everyone,” said David R. Jones, President and CEO of the Community Service Society of New York. “The Housing Access Voucher Program is a clear, simple and proven path to rehousing the homeless and preventing homelessness in the first place. We thank and congratulate Assemblymember Rosenthal for her leadership on this key issue and encourage all parties to prioritize HAVP in this year’s budget.”

“New York State is facing the worst homelessness crisis in its history, which is only compounded by an unprecedented influx of asylum seekers — and it’s more important than ever that we provide families with the resources they need to move out of shelter or stay in their homes and avoid entering shelter in the first place,” said Christine C. Quinn, President & CEO of Win, the largest provider of shelter and supportive services for homeless families in New York City. “I want to thank Housing Chair Linda Rosenthal for championing the Housing Access Voucher Program, which would increase capacity in our homelessness system by supporting thousands of New Yorkers as they move out of shelter, while keeping thousands more in their own homes. This program would be a game changer for homeless families, and I encourage policymakers in Albany to include this transformative program in the final budget.”

“To stem the tide of New York’s growing homeless crisis, the State must provide direct financial assistance to households at risk through the Housing Access Voucher Program,” said Rachel Fee, Executive Director of the New York Housing Conference. “We applaud Chair Rosenthal for advancing the HAVP bill out of committee and urge the Legislature and Hochul administration to work together to deliver this critical relief to the many households across the state who desperately need it.”

“With the number of people experiencing homelessness reaching new record highs every day, New York State needs to take bold action to prevent and end homelessness across the state," said Catherine Trapani, Executive Director for Homeless Services United. "HSU is grateful to Assemblymember Rosenthal and members of the Housing Committee for recognizing the urgency of the situation and voting to advance legislation to create the Housing Access Voucher Program which could provide immediate assistance to thousands of people at risk of or experiencing homelessness today.”

“Comprehensively addressing New York City’s housing crisis will require sensible and effective policies to significantly increase housing production and provide direct support to struggling tenants. REBNY strongly supports HAVP as part of the policy toolkit for addressing this crisis because it will effectively deliver aid to tenants who are not receiving the assistance they need,” said Basha Gerhards, Senior Vice President of Planning for the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). “We look forward to working with all stakeholders to advance this legislation alongside necessary steps to increase housing supply.”