Categories: New York City
The Network is shocked and disappointed by a story that ran both in the Gothamist and WNYC Gothamist Radio Coverage that dramatically mischaracterizes a respected supportive housing provider’s efforts to maintain solvency and manage its operations to ensure its longevity, both of which are critical to benefit their tenants.
Supportive housing buildings are underwritten to rely on the tenant portion of the rent (30% of their income, whatever that may be) for building maintenance and operations. This is not a choice made by providers, but an aspect of how the system is designed and buildings are funded to operate. On site case-managers work with tenants the moment rent is missed to devise payment plans and connect them with resources like one-shot deals to get them back on track. If providers cannot collect rent, the quality of their buildings will suffer, which will have a deleterious impact on all tenants.
As multiple individuals interviewed for this story made clear, in the rare event of extreme arrears, supportive housing providers have no alternative but to bring tenants to housing court as a means of accessing One Shot Deals (OSD) from the city in order to cover arrears – not to evict. The court proceedings trigger the OSD approvals and again, are the ultimate last resort used when all other alternatives have been exhausted. Although the City maintains that it is not their policy to wait until eviction proceedings to pay rent arrears, regrettably, that is the experience of our nearly 100 nonprofit providers across the five boroughs. What is needed to prevent an unnecessary and destabilizing process is expedited access to OSD for formerly homeless individuals living in supportive housing to pay .
The Network’s nonprofit providers are mission-driven and always seek alternatives to legal action, working directly with tenants to pay rent in small increments to avoid the legal process entirely. Evictions based on non-payment are extraordinarily rare and largely avoided: they are destabilizing for tenants and negatively impact their ability to access future housing and they constitute a costly process for providers, involving legal fees and lost rent from vacant units.
The Network looks forward to working with City leaders, providers, and advocates to examine pathways to help tenants who are in arrears more quickly access financial assistance outside of the housing court system.