Adams vetoes NYC Council bills expanding rental assistance

June 23, 2023

Image courtesy of robertotmn on Flickr

Mayor Eric Adams has vetoed four City Council bills that would expand access to New York City’s housing voucher program. Adams on Friday vetoed bills Intro. 229, Intro. 878, Intro. 893, and Intro. 894, claiming the legislation package, which was passed by the council last month, would cost the city an exorbitant amount of money and “make it harder” for homeless New Yorkers to find housing. The Council passed the legislation package late last month with a vote of 41 to 7, enough support to override the veto.

In late May, the Council passed a set of bills that significantly expanded rental assistance for New Yorkers with the goal of freeing up space in the city’s shelter system for asylum seekers and moving more unhoused New Yorkers into permanent housing.

The package also included the end to the 90-day rule, a policy that requires all residents of homeless shelters to stay for at least 90 days before they could qualify for rental assistance vouchers known as CityFHEPS.

Adams, who initially opposed ending the policy, used executive authority last week to end the 90-day rule. When asked about his thoughts about the rest of the legislation package, Adams said the legislation would cost the city an extra $17 billion over the next five years.

The mayor’s veto comes just one week before the city budget is due.

“Today, we helped New Yorkers once again by vetoing a package of bills that would take us backwards, by leading to longer shelter stays for the most vulnerable New Yorkers, while simultaneously creating a structure that could saddle taxpayers with billions of dollars in costs each year,” Adams said in a statement.

The mayor added, hinting at possible legal action: “This legislation also clearly exceeds the Council’s legal authority.”

Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said the council is “prepared to override the mayor’s veto” to address the eviction and homelessness crisis “made worse by this Administration’s budget cuts and failure to enact solutions.”

“Belatedly dropping its opposition to ending the 90-day rule while vetoing Council legislation that provides comprehensive solutions to help New Yorkers is a futile political act,” Speaker Adams said in a statement. “The mayor is only hurting the city by delaying solutions and contributing to the eviction crisis that leads more New Yorkers to lose their homes, become homeless, and join the already-high shelter population.”


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