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April 16, 2010

Velázquez Announces $23.5 Million in Emergency Funds for Housing Vouchers

Federal Money to Help Close Budget Gap at New York Housing Agency

Washington, DC –The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is receiving a short term emergency funding infusion of $23.5 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) announced today.  The funds will be used to help cover a $45 million shortfall in the agency’s Section 8 program that has put 10,000 tenants’ rental assistance vouchers at risk of being revoked.

“While more remains to be done, this announcement is good news for our City, for NYCHA and, most of all, for thousands of New York families that rely on Section 8 to find affordable housing,” Velázquez noted.  “By helping close NYCHA’s budget gap, these funds will offer a lifeline to some of our most vulnerable residents.”

Earlier this year, because of lower attrition rates from the program and higher than anticipated demand, NYCHA was forced to rescind vouchers from households that had been promised assistance.  While the New York City Department of Homeless Services is taking steps to assist many of the affected families, Velázquez made clear there is a need for better administration of the agency’s programs.  

“Certainly, NYCHA faces difficult challenges because of the economy, but recent events also suggest a need for more transparency in how it operates,” Velázquez said.  “In coming weeks, I’ll be keeping a close eye on NYCHA to ensure it uses theses resources wisely and prevents problems like these from occurring again.”

In recent weeks, Velázquez pushed the Department of Housing and Urban Development to set aside some of its funding to help address the NYCHA budget shortfall.   In addition, last month, she and other New York Members of Congress helped broker a deal that federalized several NYCHA public housing properties, providing immediate funding to update and improve the facilities, while ensuring the buildings also receive steady source of federal money in the long term.  Velázquez is a senior Member of the House Committee on Financial Services, which has jurisdiction over housing matter.