Tag Archives: Pathways to Housing

Increasing your expenses to save you money?

Yeah that makes sense to me as well.  In case you missed it, New York City is planning to cut a voucher program for 15,000 families which will in all likelihood force them back into the New York City sheltering program.

Spending on homeless shelters in New York City could increase by up to 66 percent next year because of the elimination of a generous rental voucher program for poor families, according to a report by the city’s Independent Budget Office released on Friday.

The city decided to end the program, known as Advantage, last week because of state budget cuts. As a result, many of the 15,000 families that depended on the program for rental subsidies will probably be forced to return to shelter.

The budget office said that if 70 percent of families fall back into the system, spending on shelters would increase by $455 million next year. The city, state and federal government share shelter costs.

“It is both unconscionable and unacceptable that this program is set to be eliminated without any safety nets in place,” said Annabel Palma, chair of the City Council’s General Welfare Committee.

The Department of Homeless Services has said the elimination of the Advantage program was necessary because the city could not afford to pay for the program without help from the state.

In a statement, the Department of Homeless Services said it agreed with Ms. Palma but directed blame at Albany. “The state should not have abruptly backed out of its commitment to fund Advantage with no plan for the 15,000 households already in the program and the thousands of shelter families who were counting on the subsidy,” said Barbara Brancaccio, a deputy commissioner.

So how much is being saved? 

The city and state disagree on the numbers; city officials say the program costs $140 million annually, while the state says the cost is $103 million. The two also do not agree on what amount of financing the state is cutting.

Wonderful math.  Cutting $140 million which will cost the city of New York $455 million.  It’s not only that but it’s lost tax revenues from people who will lose jobs because of being back in shelters.  According to Pathways to Housing website, it’s $57/night to place a person in their own apartment and offer up follow up visits (which drop in time), $73 a night to place someone in a shelter, $164 a night in jail, $519 a night in emergency, and $1185 a night in a psychiatric hospital.  The $455 million may be a low number when all is said and done.  Let’s hope they keep the programs for both those in need of the program and the taxpayers who will be paying for its cancellation.  New York politics at it’s finest.