In September, homelessness in NYC reached a record high with roughly 60,000 people in city shelters. Now the city is offering to pay rent for those who find apartments outside of New York’s five boroughs.
According to first reports by WNYC, a new city program quietly rolled out that will pay 12 months of rent up-front to the homeless who have been residents of a shelter for at least 3 months. Recently, qualifying residents were taken to Newark to see apartments.
While the city is willing to pay for housing within NYC as well, there aren’t enough affordable spaces for the homeless. If an apartment is found outside of town, the city will also pay for any moving costs.
Created by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, this program is an additional one completely separate to the LINC voucher program already set in place to help the homeless find apartments at 30 percent of their income (with the Department of Homeless Services paying the difference). However, even though private landlords are supposed to accept LINC vouchers there are many blatantly discriminating against these tenants, with only 3-thousand vouchers used out of the 15-thousand administered.
While this may be great for efforts to bring shelter residency numbers down in New York City, the original report by WNYC makes note of the controversy this displacement might create if “seen as an attempt to pass the problem of homelessness to other cities.”