In response to Mayor Adams’ announcement that more than 500 households have been approved for CityFHEPS housing vouchers after the removal of the 90-day rule, Council spokesperson Rendy Desamours released the following statement:

“We’re glad that after advocates citywide urged action and the Council acted, Mayor Adams finally sees the wisdom in ending the 90-day rule and what it can mean for New Yorkers to better access CityFHEPS vouchers. The problem is that our city continues to struggle with the rising number of evictions that is only adding to record homelessness, with over 100,000 people in the City’s care. This is only worsened by the administration’s inaction on the eviction crisis, under-staffing of key city agencies, and insufficient responses that fail to match the severity of these challenges facing the city.

“The Council passed the most significant policy reforms to address homelessness within our city in years by improving access to CityFHEPS that help proactively avert evictions. The mayor’s argument that using vouchers to prevent evictions creates more competition for current voucher holders makes no sense. Every New Yorker kept in a current apartment subtracts from those entering the shelter system and searching for new apartments with vouchers. It is the mayor’s approach of forcing more people into shelters in order to be eligible for vouchers that will create more competition in a limited housing supply.

“It’s positive to see that the Council’s efforts have spurred action by this administration, but the scale of this crisis demands more meaningful solutions that we will continue to advance for New Yorkers.”

Background: Notably, the Council has previously legislated on the CityFHEPS program. Recognizing that the program is an invaluable tool to curb homelessness and that the amounts of the CityFHEPS rental assistance voucher were woefully inadequate, the Council passed Local Law 71 of 2021, which raised the value of the vouchers to the same rate as levels equal to those established by Section 8. In 2021, the Council passed Local Law 157 of 2021 and Local Law 170 of 2021, allowing time in foster care or runaway and homeless youth services to count toward the 90 day shelter residency requirement for eligibility. In 2023, the Council passed Local Law 64 of 2023, requiring rental assistance payments to be available via an electronic funds transfer.