City Hall, NY – In response to the City Council’s historic override of the Mayor’s veto of Introduction 878-A, 893-A, 894-A and 229-A to address the city’s homelessness and rising eviction crises, the following housing and homelessness advocates and providers said:

“During his campaign Mayor Adams publicly pledged to give youth experiencing homelessness in the Department of Youth and Community Development shelter system access to CityFHEPS vouchers within the first hundred days of his term. Not only did he fail to keep his promise, but he also vetoed the bills that will satisfy that pledge,” said Jamie Powlovich, the Executive Director of the Coalition for Homeless Youth. “We are deeply grateful to the Council for standing up for the needs of all people experiencing homelessness and those facing eviction by overriding the veto of these historic pieces of legislation. The Council is finally giving young people access to rental assistance they need to exit homelessness into their own apartments.”

“We laud the New York City Council – especially bill sponsors Diana Ayala, Pierina Sanchez and Tiffany Cabán – for taking this necessary step to enact a package of needed reforms that will ultimately prevent evictions and combat homelessness,” said Robert Desir, Staff Attorney in the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “But let us be clear, should the Adams Administration refuse to implement these measures or bring a challenge in court, we are prepared to intervene with litigation on behalf of our clients. Given the magnitude of the local housing crisis, we have an obligation to ensure that the New Yorkers we represent have every available option to secure a long-term, safe and affordable place to call home.”

“New York City’s number one asset is its people; however the Adams’ administration’s emergency approach to housing immigrants has remained short-sighted, costly and ineffective,” said Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “This has ultimately exacerbated the load on our already overburdened shelter system. Thanks to the NYC Council Speaker Adams and the NYC Council, more New Yorkers will finally be able to leave, and skip entering, our overburdened shelter system and get into permanent housing and on the road to self-reliance and stability. By relieving pressure on the shelter system, we hope that this will mean a reduction in the use of HERRCs, which are often located in neighborhoods with poor access to public transportation, essential services, and don’t always have basic amenities like showers or proper access to bathrooms – making them ineffective locations for both the short-term and long-term needs of new arrivals. We thank the NYC Council for overriding the Mayor’s veto and for prioritizing the long-term needs of all New York families by ensuring increased access to CityFHEPS vouchers. It’s both the right thing to do to promote stability for more New York families, but also the most cost-effective measure in the long run.”

“By overriding the Mayor’s veto of their CityFHEPS reform and expansion package, the City Council is taking bold steps toward addressing our homelessness and eviction crises” said David R. Jones, President and CEO of the Community Service Society. “As CSS’s research has repeatedly shown, these bills are a smart investment for New York City and its people: fewer evictions and shorter shelter stays improve life for everyone.”

“I’ve lived in the Bronx for most of my life. I was unhoused and now we’re housed thanks to receiving the CityFHEPS voucher,” said Ethel Brown, Leader with the Safety Net Activists. “The voucher really helped us once we had the right people doing what needed to be done in order to get the paperwork rolling.  All of the four sponsored bills, Intro 878, Intro 893, Intro 894, and Intro 229 are critical to helping people avoid homelessness and helping homeless New Yorkers get housing. Thank you, City Council, for being there and continuing to be there for the unhoused and homeless. And I beseech you Mayor Adams, to have some empathy and work to implement these bills right away so that people can get housing.”

“This historical vote is a monumental story of victory for all New Yorkers impacted by the city’s housing and homelessness crisis,” said Elizabeth Mackey, VOCAL-NY HU Leader and CityFHEPS voucher holder. “We would like to thank Speaker Adrienne Adams and the members of the New York City Council who not only remained steadfast in their commitment to centering and protecting the dire needs and voices of the community, but also exemplifying how to forging a path of collaborative leadership that delivered tangible and sensible housing solutions and policies. Once implemented, this package of bills will keep thousands of families and individuals in their homes, create a pathway to exiting shelter and lessen the burden of households struggling far too often to obtain economic and housing stability at the same time. This is what people-centered policy looks like and today’s bold and unified action from the City Council is what it will continue to take to truly get stuff done for the people of New York City.”

“On any given night, more than 30,000 children sleep in a shelter in New York City. No parent or child should ever wonder if they and their family members will have a safe place to sleep at night,” said Jennifer March, Executive Director of Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC). “I’m grateful to the City Council for advancing critical measures today that will better ensure families can stay in their homes and out of shelter, and that families who do experience homelessness can quickly access safe, stable housing. Housing vouchers are a necessary tool to bring an end to homelessness in New York City, and the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York applauds the City Council’s steadfast commitment to meeting the needs of our city’s most vulnerable populations.”

“Homeless Services United is grateful to the City Council for standing strong and delivering much needed reforms to the City’s homeless prevention and housing programs,” said Catherine Trapani, Executive Director of Homeless Services United. “At a time when homelessness and evictions are at all-time highs in New York, the Council’s CityFHEPS voucher reform package of legislation is a win-win for the City, saving it up to $730 million per year while making it easier for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness to secure and maintain stable housing. We applaud the Council’s action and look forward to working on implementing these critical reforms.”

“CityFHEPS vouchers are a vital resource that helps New Yorkers access permanent housing, as our chapter members have seen when building relationships with their homeless neighbors. Thousands more still need access to them, which is exactly what the Council’s bill package will provide by broadening eligibility criteria,” said Bennett Reinhardt, Advocacy Coordinator and Neighborhood Organizer for the Open Hearts Initiative. “By making the program more accessible to homeless neighbors and those at risk for an eviction filing, New York will become safer and healthier for everyone. It’s an investment the City can afford, and one it must make, which is why we’re thrilled that the Council took decisive action and kept its promise by overriding the Mayor’s vetoes this afternoon.”

“On behalf of Urban Pathways, thank you to the City Council for holding the line on the CityFHEPS bill package and passing these critical pieces of legislation once again,” said Frederick Shack, Chief Executive Officer of Urban Pathways. “As New York City faces record homelessness, we must strengthen every tool at our disposal to keep people facing instability in their homes and get people in city shelters into permanent housing. These bills go a long way towards strengthening the city’s housing voucher program, one important tool for ensuring New Yorkers can access the private market. We recognize this is just one tool, and we must continue to fight for access to affordable housing for our lowest income communities across all levels of government, alongside enforcement of source of income discrimination protections. We applaud the City Council for their dedication to improving CityFHEPS and to addressing homelessness in a meaningful way.”

“Thousands of families live in shelter or are at risk of eviction simply because rents are too high and wages are too low,” said Baaba Halm, Vice President and New York Market Leader at Enterprise Community Partners. “Rental assistance programs like CityFHEPS are a critical tool to prevent eviction and ensure families experiencing homelessness won’t languish in shelter. Enterprise Community Partners thanks the City Council for recognizing the urgent need to increase opportunities for low-income New Yorkers and give more families a sense of pride, power, and belonging.”

“A crucial step toward solving family homelessness is providing domestic violence survivors with access to safe and permanent affordable housing,” said Gabriela Sandoval Requena, Director of Policy and Communications at New Destiny Housing. “For almost a decade, domestic violence has been the leading cause of family homelessness in New York City. Last year alone, nearly 40% of families entering the city’s Department of Homeless Services shelter system cited domestic violence as the primary reason for their homelessness. The City Council’s bold action today will help tear down barriers to housing for survivors and provide countless families, who are predominantly led by single women of color, with opportunities to secure the stable housing they deserve to rebuild their lives.”

“We applaud Speaker Adams and the entire City Council for taking action today to address the homelessness crisis,” said Natasha Lifton, Director, Government Relations for Trinity Church Wall Street. “By improving the city’s housing voucher program, these bills will help more families access and maintain stable housing and reduce reliance on the shelter system.”