10,000 Low-Income Families Threatened By Potential Loss of Section 8 Rent Vouchers
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 07, 2010

More than 10,000 low-income families could lose their apartments if the New York City Housing Authority revokes Section 8 federal rent assistance vouchers because of a $45 million budget gap. NYCHA received less funding than expected from the federal government, but continued to issue vouchers eight months after the government warned it to stop.

The result is a disaster, Judith Goldiner, Supervising Attorney in the Civil Practice's Law Reform Unit, told The New York Times. "We don’t know who could be impacted by it.”

If NYCHA takes a "last in, first out" approach, Izolda Mandelblat, 77, and her husband, Moisey Frenkel, 85, could be affected. The couple, clients of The Legal Aid Society's Harlem Community Law Office, finally received benefits in November, allowing them to afford all the medicine they need and fresh fruits and vegetables. They had waited on a Section 8 list for 13 years and scrimped to make ends meet. Mr. Frenkel has diabetes and Ms. Mandelblat has skin cancer.

Margarita Jones, staff attorney in the Bronx Neighborhood Office, appeared on Univision, and said that it has to be determined case by case if people are legally being stripped of their subsidies; those people will need legal assistance. It would be a large increase of cases for us, and we wouldn’t know how to represent these people. This is a problem that the local government needs to start finding a solution for. These people may end up in a shelter.



Noticias Univision 41 a las 6
WXTV (UNI) New York
April 7th 2010 6:00-6:30 PM

Rafael Pineda: There’s bad news for NYC residents that receive section 8 housing benefits: that privilege may be suspended for thousands of low income recipients. Our partner Mariela Salgado is live from the Bronx and will tell us why. Good afternoon, Mariela.

Mariela Salgado: Good afternoon, Rafael, and right behind me is a building where the offices of an organization that helps these families and tenants is located, specifically when these type of problems or cases come up. Here they are already preparing to help an estimated 10,000 people, as you said, who could soon be affected.

Rossana Matia: The only thing I had to help me survive was a program to help me pay the rent.

Mariela Salgado: Rossana was informed a day earlier that she would no longer receive hundreds of dollars in subsidies from section 8 to help her pay her rent.

Rossana Matia: They gave me no explanation, they didn’t tell me why, they only told me the city is cutting back. I tell them, and me? Where do I go? Where am I going to go?

Maria Salgado: She will be one of thousands of tenants who may end up permanently without their valuable assistance voucher.

Scott Stringer: This has been going on for months now, people who were promised section 8 vouchers went out to find their apartments, and now they’re being told those vouchers are worthless.

Mariela Salgado: To face a deficit of $45 million, the Housing Authority of NYC had officially announced this past December that it would not renew assistance to more than 3,000 low income recipients who were on their waiting list for subsidies. According to this lawyer who defends tenants in these types of cases, another 10,000 people could lose their section 8.

Margarita Jones: It has to be determined case by case if people are legally being stripped of their subsidies; those people will need legal assistance. It would be a large increase of cases for us, and we wouldn’t know how to represent these people. This is a problem that the local government needs to start finding a solution for. These people may end up in a shelter.

Rossana Matia: I don’t want to end up in a shelter; that would be disastrous for me.

Mariela Selgado: In a statement issued by the Housing Authority, they say they’re doing everything possible to explore options and to prevent this from happening to help families. In a worst case scenario, if no state help arrives, then some 10,000 families will likely be affected. This is all we have to report from The Bronx, Mariela Salgado.

 

Eyewitness News at 6
WABC (ABC) New York
April 7th, 2010 6-7 PM

Liz Cho, Co-Anchor: More than 10,000 low income tenants in New York City tonight on the verge of losing their rent assistance vouchers and possibly becoming homeless. That’s because the federal government has cut funding for so-called Section 8 programs. So what will those families now do? NJ Burkett is in the newsroom tonight with more. NJ?

NJ Burkett, Reporter: And Liz, all they can do now is hope it doesn’t happen. This is a crisis in the making. Many are struggling to begin with, and if they lose Section 8, the next step is the street.

Fabio DelValle, Section 8 Client: We shouldn’t be victims of greed.

NJ Burkett: Fabio DelValle is one of tens of thousands of people who depend on Section 8 –government rent vouchers that make New York affordable for the elderly, the disabled, and the working poor.

Fabio DelValle: Section 8, it has vouchers help the least of us.

NJ Burkett: Fabio, if they took away your Section 8, what would happen to you?

Fabio DelValle: Homelessness.

NJ Burkett: Mayra Santana told us the same thing.

Mayra Santana, Section 8 Client: I would be homeless. I have my daughter here, you know, a fourteen-year-old. She goes to school, she’s great in school. People that go to Section 8, it’s because they really need it.

NJ Burkett: But the fact is huge numbers of Section 8 families now stand to lose their rent subsidies because of a dramatic cutback in federal aid. Although the US Department of Housing and Urban Development warned the City Housing Authority last year, the Authority continued to issue rent vouchers it is now unable to afford.

Bill de Blasio, NYC Public Advocate: Even if some of the instinct here was to be compassionate, which I commend, the bottom line is you can’t give out benefits and they suddenly mean nothing. And that’s what happened here.

NJ Burkett: By the end of the summer, experts say thousands of families could be out on the street.

Judith Goldiner, The Legal Aid Society: What’s going to happen is their landlords are going to stop getting the money and these families are going to be taken to housing court and evicted—ten thousand of them. These people have nowhere else to go.

NJ Burkett: Critics are considering legal action, perhaps a court order, to prevent all of this. Tonight, US Senator Chuck Schumer is making a direct, personal appeal to the federal government to restore the funding. We’ll see where that goes. Liz, Bill?

Bill Ritter, Co-Anchor: Alright, NJ, thank you very much.