|SAME AS||SAME AS S01291|
|Amd §409-a, Soc Serv L|
|Increases from $300 to $600 the monthly rent subsidy payable for housing for a foster child living independently in certain circumstances; doesn't limit those from living with roommates.|
|01/05/2017||referred to children and families|
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NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A259 SPONSOR: Hevesi
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the social services law, in relation to increasing from $300 a month to $600 a month the rent subsidy payable to a foster child living independently   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill will ensure the housing subsidy program is better able to prevent homelessness and address housing instability for families and youth aging out of foster care, this statute includes three components: *Increases the monthly limit to $600 (from $300). *Increases the upper age limit of subsidy eligibility from 21 to 24 so that youth who age out of foster care from ages 18-21 can avail them- selves of the subsidy for up to 3 years. *Allows those receiving the housing subsidy to live with unrelated roommates/not be required to be the leaseholder.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill amends subdivision 5, paragraph (c) of section 409-a of the social services law to increase from $300 a month to $600 a month, the maximum rent subsidy or assistance for foster care youth who are leaving care. The subsidy is allowed when a social services official determines that a lack of adequate housing is the primary factor preventing the discharge of a child or children from foster care. Section 2 provides for this act to take effect immediately.   JUSTIFICATION: Housing stability and child welfare are inextricably linked. Research has shown a higher rate of homelessness among those involved with the child welfare system than other low-income families and that housing can be a barrier to reunification.* "Homeless families are more likely than their non-homeless counterparts to be the focus of a child, protective services (CPS) investigation, to have an open child welfare case or to have a child placed in out of home care."** Furthermore, as documented in a recent U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) report, youth who age out of foster care are at a heightened risk of homelessness.*** In 1988, New York created the child welfare housing subsidy to help address homelessness and housing instability for families with open child welfare cases and youth aging out of foster care. Specifically, since 1988, the law has authorized local social service districts to provide eligible families and youth with a housing subsidy of up to $300 per month for up to 3 years or until reaching the limit of $10,800. The housing subsidy program is a preventive service, pursuant to State Social Service law and corresponding regulations.**** The goal of the child welfare housing subsidy program to stabilize hous- ing situations and prevent homelessness so as to help prevent foster care placements, expedite reunification, and help youth aging out of foster care. Thus, families with open CPS investigations, families receiving preventive services, families where children are reunifying from foster care, and youth ages 18-21 have been eligible for the hous- ing subsidy. Given that the $300 monthly limit has not increased since 1988, has not been adjusted for inflation, and does not reflect the Fair Market Rent in New York City (or almost all counties in New York), the $300 housing subsidy is no longer a significant enough rental assistance mechanism to secure and stabilize housing for families or youth aging out of foster care in almost any county in New York State. If the $300 subsidy is adjusted for inflation using the United States Department of Labor Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflations calculator, $300 in 1988 has the same buying power as $602.11 in 2014. ***** With regard to New York's youth, the child welfare laws enable youth to remain in foster care up to age 21. For those youth who choose to do this, they are not ever able to receive the housing subsidy, as it has been interpreted to end at age 21. These youth never get the opportunity to have avail themselves of the child welfare housing subsidy, which would otherwise be an important support for these young adults as they first learn to live on their own, pay rent, and support themselves. The federal government has recognized the value of enabling youth to remain in foster care through age 21 (rather than 18) and in 2008 passed the Fostering Connections to Success Act, which extended federal reimburse- ment for foster care up to age 21. Other states are now beginning to follow New York's lead in this area. Extending the child welfare housing subsidy through age 24 would be in line with this practice and best support young people through age 21 and beyond. Finally, for families and even more so for youth, the high cost of hous- ing and the benefit of living with others, often leads most New Yorkers to have roommates. This bill makes it clear that those receiving the child welfare housing subsidy can also have unrelated roommates. In summary, these steps would go a long way towards helping to address the homeless crisis, and will strengthen and support families involved with the child welfare system and youth aging out of foster care.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2015-2016: A.7756-A   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall be effective immediately. * Dworsky, Amy. Families at the Nexus of Housing and Child Welfare. Chapin Hall. Nov. 2014. HITP://CHILDWELFARESPARC.ORG/WP-CONTENT/UPLOADS/ 2014/12/FAMILIES-AT-THE-NEXUS-OF-HOUSING-AND-CHILDWELFARE.PDF. **Id. ***U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Housing for Youth Aging out of Foster Care. May 2014. HTTP://WWW.HUDUSER.GOV/PORTAL/ PUBLICATIONS/PDF/YOUTH HSG MAIN REPORT.PDF.d. **** Social Service Law Section 409-a(5)(c); 18 NYCRR 423.3 (ME); 18NYCRR 423.4(1) *****U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. CPI Inflation Calculator. HTTP://WWW.BLS.GOV/DATA/INFLATION CALCULATOR.HTM. Visited 11/26/14.
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STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 259 2017-2018 Regular Sessions IN ASSEMBLY January 5, 2017 ___________ Introduced by M. of A. HEVESI -- read once and referred to the Committee on Children and Families AN ACT to amend the social services law, in relation to increasing from $300 a month to $600 a month the rent subsidy payable to a foster child living independently The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem- bly, do enact as follows: 1 Section 1. Paragraph (c) of subdivision 5 of section 409-a of the 2 social services law, as amended by chapter 339 of the laws of 1993, is 3 amended to read as follows: 4 (c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, where a 5 social services official determines that a lack of adequate housing is 6 the primary factor preventing the discharge of a child or children from 7 foster care including, but not limited to, children with the goal of 8 discharge to independent living, preventive services shall include, in 9 addition to any other payments or benefits received by the family, 10 special cash grants in the form of rent subsidies, including rent 11 arrears, or any other assistance, sufficient to obtain adequate housing. 12 Such rent subsidies or assistance shall not exceed the sum of [ three] 13 six hundred dollars per month, shall not be provided for a period of 14 more than three years, may be provided up to age twenty-four for youth 15 discharged from foster care, and shall be considered a special grant. 16 Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to limit the ability of 17 those using the rent subsidy to live with roommates. The provisions of 18 this paragraph shall not be construed to limit such official's authority 19 to provide other preventive services. 20 § 2. Subdivision 7 of section 409-a of the social services law, as 21 added by section 83 of the laws of 1995, is amended to read as follows: 22 7. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, if a social 23 services official determines that a lack of adequate housing is a factor 24 that may cause the entry of a child or children into foster care and the EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00964-02-7A. 259 2 1 family has at least one service need other than lack of adequate hous- 2 ing, preventive services may include, in addition to any other payments 3 or benefits received by the family, special cash grants in the form of 4 rent subsidies, including rent arrears, or any other assistance, suffi- 5 cient to obtain adequate housing. Such rent subsidies or assistance 6 shall not exceed the sum of [ three] six hundred dollars per month, shall 7 not be provided for a period of more than three years, may be provided 8 up to age twenty-four for youth discharged from foster care, and shall 9 be considered a special grant. Nothing in this subdivision shall be 10 construed to limit the ability of those using the rent subsidy to live 11 with roommates. The provisions of this paragraph shall not be construed 12 to limit such official's authority to provide other preventive services. 13 § 3. This act shall take effect immediately.