Harlem’s Espaillat, And Torres Secure Additional Section 8 Vouchers For NYC In Federal Housing Funding Bill

July 16, 2021

Today, Harlem Rep. Adriano Espaillat and Ritchie Torres issued the following statements hailing the inclusion of language.

This is the language in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations bill that eases restrictions on public housing agency (PHA) reserve funds and allows them to be used for additional Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers.

This language permits New York City Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to issue approximately an additional 1,500 Section 8 vouchers.

“As our communities here in New York City and around the country embark on their journeys to rebuild and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have to use every tool available to us to prevent homelessness and promote affordable housing,” said Rep. Espaillat (NY-13). “Stable, affordable housing should be a right, not a privilege – and it’s more important now than ever before, especially during this time of unimaginable crisis for so many. This language will put roofs over the heads of hundreds more families throughout New York City, and thousands more across the country, and brings us one step closer to being able to provide safe, stable and affordable housing for all low-income Americans.”

“New York City, and other major cities across the nation, have been dealing with an affordable housing crisis for many years that has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. As legislators, we must use every tool at our disposal to ensure that families are able to afford to live in their communities and can stay in their homes. By lifting the restrictions on PHA funds, it will ensure that more families have access to Section 8 Vouchers which are the best tools we have for families to access affordable housing. Housing vouchers will no longer have to languish while families are still struggling to recover from the pandemic. The inclusion of language that lifts the cap is a major win for New York City, and I thank Representative Espaillat for his partnership in securing this,” said Rep. Torres (NY-15).

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“Lifting the Annual Contributions Cap for PHAs will have a large impact in helping the most vulnerable and low-income households find and maintain stable housing, which is more needed than ever during this time of crisis. We thank the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Adriano Espaillat and Rep. Ritchie Torres for leading the way in developing innovative ideas that will help more New Yorkers find and keep safe, stable and affordable housing and hope Congress acts on this bill and ultimately makes this a lasting change,” said NYC Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Louise Carroll.

“We commend the House Appropriations Committee for proposing a significant expansion of Housing Choice Vouchers in the T-HUD FY 2022 appropriations bill and a rule change to give public housing authorities (PHAs) more control to maximize rental assistance resources. This has been a longtime issue for New York City, limiting our ability to fully utilize all our voucher funding. We thank Representatives Adriano Espaillat and Ritchie Torres for pushing to get this language included. Hundreds of more families will be served in the City thanks to their advocacy. This is a major win for PHAs across the country and brings us yet another step closer to establishing a true housing safety net for all low-income Americans,” said Rachel Fee, Executive Director of the New York Housing Conference.

In April, Reps. Espaillat and Torres led members of the New York delegation in a letter urging T-HUD Subcommittee Chairman David Price and Ranking Member Mario Diaz-Balart to modify language from prior T-HUD appropriations bills that prevents PHAs from over-leasing – allowing housing authorities across the country to issue Section 8 HCVs above what is permitted in their Annual Contributions Contracts (ACC).

The new language in the bill will allow PHAs to use their reserve funds to issue extra vouchers in light of pandemic-related hardship.

Representative Espaillat is the first Dominican American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and his congressional district includes Harlem, East Harlem, West Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill and the northwest Bronx.

First elected to Congress in 2016, Representative Espaillat is serving his third term in Congress. Representative Espaillat currently serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Committee on Appropriations responsible for funding the federal government’s vital activities.

He is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), where he serves as the Second Vice Chair and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where he serves as Deputy Whip.

Representative Espaillat also currently serves as a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at https://espaillat.house.gov/.

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