The New York City Independent Budget Office is raising concerns about the impact which an end to the Advantage rental assistance program is having on homeless families living in City shelters.
“February marks the first month that the city will not pay subsidies for families who signed leases under the Advantage rental assistance program,” the IBO noted in an IBO blog post. “While no new families have entered the program in almost a year, the city had been under a court order to continue paying the subsidies for families already enrolled—until earlier this month when the order was lifted. The loss of the subsidy jeopardizes the housing of the 8,000 to 9,000 formerly homeless Advantage recipients still in the program.”
Families are already staying longer in shelter as a result of the loss of the Advantage rental assistance option, said the IBO. “In the eight months after the city stopped signing new Advantage leases, the average shelter stay for a family was 316 days, nearly two months longer than the average of 258 days during the same eight months in the year before the Advantage program ended,” they wrote. “As families stay longer, the total number of families in shelters has also begun to increase in recent months. And now that the city has stopped paying subsidies to former Advantage tenants, some of these families may also return to shelter, which would further drive up city homelessness spending.” Click here to read the IBO’s full blog post.