Housing Policy In The News

Policy Update: December 2009

From the National Low Income Housing Coalition

Please Call Congress December 1 or 2 for National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) Money!

Let's Get NHFT Money Before Congress Adjourns for Holidays.

Please call your Representative and both of your Senators on December 1 or 2.  Please ask your networks to do the same.  Tell them you want at least $1 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund before Congress adjourns later in December.  Urge them to support any bill moving through the House or Senate that contains money for the NHTF.

Let them know that providing money for the NHTF will create needed jobs.  Every $1 billion investment in the NHTF, at $100,000 per unit of housing, will create 15,100 construction jobs and 3,800 jobs in ongoing operations.  Also, the NHTF will support local economies as low income families can afford to spend more money on goods and services when they are not spending half or more of their income on housing.

Our goal is to create an early December blizzard of phone calls from all over the country in a compressed period of time to demonstrate strong and urgent support for an initial infusion of money for the NHTF.  Please pass this message on to your networks.

877-210-5351 is the toll free number for the Congressional switchboard.  Ask to be connected to the housing staffer for your Representative's and Senators' offices.

Questions?  Contact the Outreach Team at (202) 662-1530 or at outreach@nlihc.org.

Policy Update: June 2009

The Arc of History is long but it bends towards Justice.

Dear Friend,

Your help is needed now to help bring about Justice for those who are homeless and at risk of homelessness in New York City. In the next 3 weeks, two pieces of legislation that can have a CRUCIAL impact on thousands of lives will be decided

Issue 1:  On May 1st, New York City began charging working homeless families “rent” for shelter – in some cases over half of their already low incomes – and threatening to eject homeless children and families from shelter if they fail to pay.  Although the shelter “rent” rules, which are based on a State regulation dating back to 1995, were temporarily suspended due to “technical issues, (see article - City Temporarily Stops Charging Rent to the Working Homeless) City and State officials have declared that “they plan to enforce them again in the near future

To make matters worse, the City of New York is also moving forward with plans to implement shelter ejection rules and a “code of conduct” that require that homeless families be ejected from shelter to the streets for at least 30 days for failing to comply with bureaucratic requirements – for example, for missing appointments, or because a homeless family’s welfare case has been closed, or for failing to pay “rent” for shelter. 

Fortunately, new State legislation (Senate Bill 5605 and Assembly Bill 8353-A) has been introduced that will end this practice of charging “rent” for shelter and also protect families and children from being ejected from shelter except in cases where residents’ actions endanger the health and safety of others, but with only three weeks left in the State Legislative session,  It is crucial that you contact your State Senator and Assembly Member NOW and urge them to protect New York homeless families by supporting Senate Bill S5605 and Assembly Bill 8353-A. For sample letters and other information about this crucial issue please go to iahh.org/shelter-rent.

To find State Senators: nysenate.gov/senators, for Assembly Members: assembly.state.ny.us/mem/

For more info about this effort, contact Patrick Markee at the Coalition for the Homeless - 212-776-2004


Issue #2: As a result of a gaping hole in current rent laws, New York City has been losing at least 15,000 affordable apartments every year for the past decade. Now, with a slim democratic majority in the State Senate for the first time in 40 years, we have an opportunity to strengthen rent protections and Repeal Vacancy Decontrol.  (Under vacancy decontrol, when a landlord is able to raise rents to $2,000 and the apartment is vacant, rent regulations will no longer apply.) With a bill to repeal vacancy decontrol already passed by the State Assembly, only a small handful of State Senators stand in the way of Preventing the Loss of Over One Billion Dollars of affordable Housing a Year.  

If you are represented by Jeffrey Klein, Martin Golden, Pedro Espada, Diane Savino, Martin Malave Dilan, Carl Kruger or Craig Johnson, please call them and urge them to support S. 2237

Find Your State Legislators at: nysenate.gov/senators

For more information on this effort or to volunteer, call: 212-577-7001 or action@tenantspac.org.


Thank you so much for taking action at this crucial moment on behalf of our tens of thousands of sisters and brothers in need of justice.

Marc L. Greenberg

Board Member Beyond Shelter Coalition

Continued Policy Concerns:

Increase In Homeless New Yorkers

As Mayor Bloomberg sets priorities for his new administration there is a vast increase in New Yorkers who are facing life without permanent housing and others who are facing difficulties keeping their families in a home.

According to the New York Times (November 20, 2001)
the number of homeless New Yorkers who are seeking emergency shelter is close to 30,000 (more than 12,000 of whom are children).
Mayor Bloomberg has publically recognized the housing crisis and we are pleased that he went on record as stating that creating housing and making homeless shelters safe will be important priorities for his administration.

Although the "Housing First Coalition" initially hoped that revenues from the sale of the World Trade Center would significantly fund housing creation, experts are looking at other ways to gain the funds necessary to build 100,000 housing units desperately needed.

One positive development is that Mayor Bloomberg invited leading advocates of creating housing for the homeless to meet with him and his newly appointed Commissioner for Homeless Services, Linda Gibbs (formerly Commissioner for Children Services) who went on record as saying that "permanant housing for homeless persons is a goal of the administration." No plan has been adopted to achieve that goal. (New York Times January 20, 2002. Page 31.)

The impact of advocacy groups for affordable housing on the administration is not fully known at this time. This page will endeavor to provide the concerned public with any additional information inorder that we can mobilize ourselves on behalf of the homeless.