Rent Subsidies Increase

Published on May 19th, 2021

Memorandum of Support

Update: Passed Senate (6/2/21)

Re: S5419 Brisport/A2476 Hevesi
Re: Increase in Value of Rent Subsidies

The above referenced legislation amends Section 409-A of the Social Services Law to increase the value of rent subsidies for families whose lack of adequate housing puts their children at risk of entry into the foster care system or delays their reunification. The maximum monthly subsidy would rise from $300 to $600.

The New York State Catholic Conference supports this bill.

Housing instability and homelessness is linked closely to children entering or remaining in foster care. The child welfare housing subsidy was created in 1988 to address this issue. It was set at $300 at that time as a preventive service for families whose lack of adequate housing is the primary driver putting their children at risk of entering foster care or preventing their children being released from foster care, as well as to assist youth aging out of foster care.

The maximum subsidy has never seen an increase despite average rents in New York State, and in particular New York City, doubling, tripling or more, depending on the region and the real estate market. While $300 in 1988 was very likely to make a significant difference in a family avoiding homelessness, that is simply not the case today. As a result, children who might otherwise be able to remain with their families, or those in foster care already who could be reunited with their families, are instead trapped in the foster care system.

Doubling the current subsidy to $600 is pro-child and pro-family. It is smart and compassionate public policy. We urge passage.