Even though Mayor Adams has publicly opposed the proposal and privately urged Council members to vote against it, the City Council is expected to approve a legislative package this week that would make it simpler for low-income New Yorkers to obtain rent subsidy vouchers, municipal government sources told the Daily News on Wednesday.
Adams’ resistance to the package, which the Council intends to move forward with, might pave the way for a rare mayoral veto.
The legislation would eliminate requiring people to stay in homeless shelters for 90 days before qualifying for CityFHEPS vouchers, severely subsidizing rent for low-income earners. This requirement has been long sought after by housing advocates.
Additionally, it would increase eligibility by removing the requirement for a shelter stay and allowing those who have received formal rent demands from their landlords to qualify for the vouchers.
Most Council members have co-sponsored the proposals, virtually guaranteeing their passage.
The Council is scheduled to vote on the legislation on Thursday, as The News revealed in its initial story earlier this month.
The legislation was unanimously passed by the General Welfare Committee of the Council on Wednesday afternoon.
The mayor’s Tuesday opposition to the legislation led to the committee’s approval. According to a statement from Adams spokeswoman Fabien Levy, the mayor believes the proposals will cost the city billions of dollars because of increasing demand and result in a voucher.
“These bills will not only cost New York City an estimated $17 billion over the next five years — adding billions onto the backs of New York taxpayers — but they will also force the creation of a voucher waiting list,” Levy added.
Levy added in a separate statement that the mayor’s office informed the Council that the mayor would support a stand-alone bill that repealed the family qualifying criteria of 90 days.
He continued, “But the Council rejected our request to assist these families.
The cost of keeping a person in a shelter is more expensive per day than a CityFHEPS voucher, according to supporters of the measures, who claim they will save the city money.
Due to several variables, like household sizes and length of shelter stays, exact cost breakdowns may be hazy. Before Thursday’s vote, the City Council will publish its fiscal impact analysis of the measures, according to a representative for the body.
Before her panel’s decision, General Welfare Committee Chair Diana Ayala of Manhattan expressed confidence that the proposals would result in savings.
She pointed out that according to the mayor’s own “Housing Blueprint” from the previous year, housing a family of two in a shelter for a month costs the city an average of $8,773 per month, as opposed to the $2,387 per month a CityFHEPS voucher pays for a one-bedroom apartment.
Ayala called the mayor “the stupidest opposition in the world.” It wouldn’t save money, so it doesn’t make sense.
Despite this, according to three city government sources who are acquainted with the situation and The News, Adams and top members of his team, including chief adviser Ingrid Lewis-Martin, began calling Democratic Council members on Sunday and pleading with them not to support the CityFHEPS proposals.
According to the sources, Shaun Abreu of Manhattan, Mercedes Narcisse of Brooklyn, Julie Menin of Manhattan, and Diana Ayala of Manhattan were among the council members who received calls from Adams’ aides.