NYS Seal


Oral Testimony by Invitation Only


The impact of two recent policies proposed by the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to address the problem of homelessness


To assess the anticipated impact of the implementation of these policies on homeless individuals and families in New York City

New York City

December 16, 2004
10:30 AM
Assembly Hearing Room
250 Broadway
Room 1923, 19th Floor

DHS has recently proposed two new policies aimed at reducing the growing numbers of homeless individuals and families in New York City. However, there is considerable uncertainty as to the impact that these proposals will have on the the homeless population and the increasing demand for shelter beds.

Specifically, DHS has proposed the following new policies:

  1. A shelter supplement proposal, known as Housing Stability Plus, would provide homeless persons living in a shelter with a temporary rental subsidy reduced by 20% annually. This new subsidy program would shift the priority for distribution of federal Section 8 housing vouchers from families leaving homeless shelters to low-income families who are not exiting the shelter system. Homeless families receiving a rental subsidy would be limited to five years in the program. This proposal requires approval from the State and would be funded by Federal, State and City dollars; and,

  2. The opening of a new temporary intake site for homeless persons seeking shelter, known as the Prevention Assistance & Temporary Housing (PATH) Office, and eventual construction of a new Emergency Assistance Unit (EAU). Beginning November 18, 2004, new shelter applicants are being served at PATH, while all others who have applied in the past are still being served through the EAU. The City has proposed limiting shelter applications to one time only, and ultimately eliminating an intake center for homeless families who were either denied or previously housed in a City shelter.

Taken together, these two proposals reflect an overall strategy to re-prioritize the goals of homeless policies in New York City. Given the fact that the City's homeless population has expanded to over 36,000 persons, it is vital to assess the likely outcome that these new policies will have, not only in terms of the numbers of homeless persons staying in shelters, but also in terms of their real impact on homeless families struggling to obtain safe, permanent housing.

Please see the reverse side for a list of subjects to which witnesses may direct their testimony, and for a description of the issues which will be discussed at the hearing.

Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committee at the above hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation.

Oral testimony will be by Invitation Only and be limited to 10 minutes' duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committee will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to Committee staff as early as possible. In the absence of a request, witnesses will be scheduled in the order in which reply forms are postmarked.

Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. Written testimony will be accepted and may be sent to the contact person noted on the reply form. The Committee would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements.

In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.

Deborah Glick
Member of Assembly
Committee on Social Services


  1. How would information regarding the proposed rental subsidy program be dispersed to eligible homeless individuals and families? How would applicants be selected to receive a subsidy?

  2. What impact will the 20% annual decrease in the rental subsidy have on homeless shelter residents, particularly in cases where the family or individual is not able to meet the rent requirement?

  3. What percentages of funding for the rental subsidy program are expected to come from Federal, State and City revenue sources? How much of the rental subsidy would be paid for with federal TANF and/or State dollars?

  4. What incentive would be given to landlords to house homeless families exiting the shelter system with a rental subsidy once the priority for federal Section 8 vouchers is shifted to families who are not exiting the homeless shelter system?

  5. How will homeless individuals and families seeking shelter be informed about the new DHS intake system? Will homeless persons seeking shelter be adequately informed of their rights? What are your concerns with regard to the separation of first-time applicants from those who have previously applied for shelter and been denied?

  6. How will the new Prevention Assistance & Temporary Housing (PATH) Office improve the delivery of services to homeless individuals and families? How will this office function differently from the Emergency Assistance Unit (EAU)? Approximately how many families will be able to be processed through the PATH Office on a daily basis?

  7. Are you concerned about the implications of this new intake system on homeless families who have previously applied for shelter and been denied? Given the fact that so many persons currently in shelter were denied before finally being granted a shelter bed, do you anticipate an increase in the numbers of homeless persons who will have no temporary placement? What impact could this potentially have on the City community as a whole?

  8. How many times could a homeless individual or family apply for shelter before being denied? If there is a limit placed on the number of allowable applications, would this be a "lifetime" limit, or would there be a specified look back period to allow for extraordinary or unforeseeable circumstances that could result in a family becoming homeless?

  9. What will be the overall impact of both of these proposals, if implemented either individually or simultaneously, on the homeless population in New York City? Could these new policies potentially lead to an increased demand for shelter and social services? If so, would public and private provider agencies be prepared to meet these increasing needs? How will these new approaches to serving the homeless impact the lives of homeless families with children?


Persons wishing to present testimony at the public hearing on Homeless Policy In New York City are requested to complete this reply form as soon as possible and mail it to:

Jill Poklemba
Legislative Associate
Assembly Committee on Social Services
Room 524 - Capitol
Albany, New York 12248
Email: poklemj@assembly.state.ny.us
Phone: (518) 455-4371
Fax: (518) 455-4693

box I plan to attend the following public hearing on Homeless Policy In New York City to be conducted by the Assembly Committee on Social Services on December 16, 2004.

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I will address my remarks to the following subjects:


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