Goldfeder: Assembly Hearing Protecting Vital Senior Rent Program

November 28, 2011
On Tuesday, November 22, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Far Rockaway) took part in an Assembly Hearing to examine the impact of recent changes in New York City’s administration of the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) Program. SCRIE protects nearly 40,000 New York City seniors living on fixed incomes from rent increases. In 2010, seniors covered under the SCRIE program saved an average of $226 per month on their rent for an average yearly savings of $2,712.

In 2009, oversight of the program was transferred from the City’s Department for the Aging to the Department of Finance. While the goal of the transfer was to streamline the SCRIE program and improve efficiency, many seniors have faced hardships navigating the new system, according to Goldfeder.

“Clearly, the program is not being run as well as it should. No senior should lose their rent benefit because of bureaucratic mishaps and red tape,” Goldfeder said. “I’m hopeful that the Assembly’s hearing on SCRIE will bring about real changes to this important program.”

At the hearing, the Assembly’s Housing and Aging Committees heard testimony from several elected officials, community leaders and senior citizen advocates who explained the unintended consequences resulting from the change in oversight. According to the witnesses, the Department of Finance experienced a major backlog in processing applications resulting in applications not being processed timely and accurately. In some cases, applications were held for more than a year before being processed, forcing seniors to pay their full, non-SCRIE rent.

“We must do everything we can to keep seniors in their homes and fixing SCRIE will go a long way toward doing just that,” Assemblyman Goldfeder said. “My office is here to help. I encourage any senior who is experiencing problems with SCRIE to contact my office immediately.”