By Erasma Beras-Monticciolo
On May 27th, 2021 The New York City Council approved a substantial increase in the value of CityFHEPS vouchers to address the housing instability and the homelessness crisis that has engulfed the City over the past decade. Housing is a social determinant of health which has implications for those experiencing homelessness, particularly children. Children who are born into homelessness are often exposed to a host of environmental factors that can endanger their physical and emotional health. Therefore, the CityFHEPS vouchers, which for over a decade failed to cover the cost of rent for a typical apartment in the city, have now increased substantially making it possible for the over 50,0000 people,–including the 15,000 children–in NYC experiencing homelessness to access permanent housing.
The increased value of CityFHEPS is in line with fair market rent and will be available to households with incomes below 250 percent of the federal poverty level. The maximum voucher allowance for a family of four will be approximately $2,217 per month, an increase of 40% over the previous amount offered to families. This new increase in the subsidy will make it possible for families and individuals to access nearly 72,000 available apartments in the City. Additionally, the subsidy is available to New Yorkers who are currently facing possible evictions. Not only will the CityFHEPS vouchers serve to move families out of shelters, but according to estimates provided by Women In Need (WIN), the city should expect to save approximately $187 million in shelter and service costs in the first five years.