Homeless Services

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					Homeless Services

INTRODUCTION
In New York City, homeless men, women and children have the right to shelter. The right to shelter for homeless men was established by the 1979 Callahan v. Carey lawsuit and the right shelter for homeless women was established in the 1982 Eldredge v. Koch lawsuit and was ultimately consolidated in the Callahan decree. The right to shelter was extended to homeless families with children by the 1983 McCain V. Koch lawsuit. Homeless individuals and families in New York City receive shelter, rental assistance and services through programs sponsored, funded and administered by a complex system of government agencies (city, state and federal), nonprofit organizations and religious institutions. This section outlines the major components of the system of services for homeless individuals and families in New York City.

The lead agency in planning, funding and implementing the city's response to homelessness is the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS). The NYC Human Resources Administration provides income support to homeless individuals and families through Public Assistance (refer to Vol. II - Public Assistance, Section J 1), Emergency Assistance Grants (refer to Vol. I – Emergency Assistance Grants, Section D 1, 2 & 3), and the HRA Diversion Teams that operate from Job Centers to prevent evictions. The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) also provides services through its Division of Relocation Operations.

NYC DEPARTMENT OF HOMELESS SERVICES
Established in 1993, the primary purpose of Department of Homeless Services (DHS) is to plan, implement and manage services for homeless families and individuals. The DHS seeks to:



Provide emergency shelter for those who have no other alternatives, and



Provide programs to assist homeless people to gain the skills and resources they need to live independently, and



Develop a continuum of care for the homeless utilizing nonprofit agencies as the principle providers of services.

DHS is divided into two parts: shelters for homeless single adults (Division of Adult Services) and shelters for homeless families (Division of Family Services). The majority of shelters and services administered by DHS are contracted to not-for-profit service providers, although DHS continues to operate several programs directly.

Division of Adult Services

The Division of Adult Services is responsible for coordinating programs provided to homeless single adults without children. Most services are provided by nonprofits contracted through the DHS. Under the Callahan consent decree the City and State agreed to provide shelter and board to each homeless individual who meets the “need standard” for public assistance or by reason of physical, mental or social dysfunction is in need of temporary shelter. The Division of Adult Services manages intake/assessment shelters, adult transitional/ program shelters, and the drop-in centers.

Intake/Assessment Shelters

Adults applying for shelter who are new to the shelter system or have not resided in a municipal shelter for over one year must apply for assistance at one of the intake centers listed below. Individuals who have resided in a specific municipal shelter within the past year continue to be a “resident” of that shelter and must return to that site for

services. If this shelter does not have a vacant bed, the shelter must make arrangements for temporary (overnight) shelter at another facility.

At the intake shelter individuals will be finger imaged, assigned a Homeless Assistance number and entered in the Shelter Client Information Management System, and assigned to an assessment shelter, which will determine services needed. Intake shelters for women are also the assessment shelters. The assessment shelter will evaluate the resident‟s service needs and determine the appropriate shelter placement or program. Assessments should be completed within 21 days, but often take longer. After the assessment, the resident is transferred to another municipal shelter (adult transitional/shelter program), which becomes the resident‟s shelter assignment.

The intake shelters are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Homeless individuals in need of services can walk-in to one of the intake shelters listed below:

1.  Intake/Assessment Shelters for Women

Franklyn Women‟s Assessment Center 1122 Franklyn Avenue Bronx, NY 10456 (718) 842-9868,78

Brooklyn Women's Shelter 116 Williams Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11207 (718) 495-7874, 0

Jamaica Armory 93-05 168th Street Jamaica, NY 11434 (718) 262-1780

1.  Intake Shelter for Men

30th Street Men's Shelter (Bellevue) 400-430 East 30th Street (1st Avenue) New York, NY 10016 (212) 481-0771

2.  Assessment Shelters for Men

30th Street Men‟s Shelter (212) 481-0778

Charles H. Gay Men‟s Shelter (212) 369-8900

Atlantic Avenue Armory (718) 636-3908

Peter J. Sharp Center (718) 417-2500

Adult Transitional/Program Shelters

Individuals are referred to a program shelter after their assessment at an assessment shelter. There are 50 adult program shelters with a capacity for approximately 9,000 residents. These shelters provide mental health, substance abuse, employment, medical, and basic casework services. Staff will help with the housing application process and facilitate placement into either a supportive housing setting operated by a nonprofit, or into private housing, depending on the availability of units, income level and need for continued social service support. Residents in program shelters generally stay at an assigned shelter for a maximum of 9 months, although efforts are made to quickly place individuals into alternative housing.

Drop-in Centers:

Homeless adults can also access shelter programs through DHS contracted Drop-in Centers. Referrals are not necessary; individuals can walk-in to any center for services. In addition to making referrals to shelters, drop-in centers also provide services such as meals, showers, clothing, case management, medical care and mental health services. DHS Drop-in Centers are located at:

3.  Manhattan

John Heuss House - Trinity Church (chronically homeless mentally ill men and women) 42 Beaver Street (Wall Street area) New York, NY 10004 (212) 785-0774, 0

Neighborhood Center for Homeless People Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter 237 East 77th Street (between Lexington & 3rd Avenues) New York, NY 10028 (212) 861-0704

Olivieri Center for Homeless Women - Urban Pathways 257 West 30th Street (between 7th & 8th Avenues) New York, NY 10001 (212) 947-3211

The Open Door - Urban Pathways The Open Door - Urban Pathways 402 West 41st Street (bet. 9th & 10th Ave.) New York, NY 10036 (212) 465-0975

Peter's Place - Partnership for the Homeless (preferably over 50 or physically frail) 123 West 23rd Street St. Vincent de Paul Church (bet. 6th & 7th Ave.) New York, NY 10011 (212) 727-0725

St. Agnes Drop-in Center - Grand Central Partnership 143-145 East 43rd Street New York, NY 10017 (212) 818-1220

Center for Urban Community Services West Harlem Transitional Services 521 West 126 Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam) New York, NY 10027 (212) 749-8900

1. 

Brooklyn

Bond Street Drop-in Center Builders for Family and Youth (Brooklyn Catholic Charities) 39-41 Bond Street (bet. Livingston & Schermerhorn)

Brooklyn, NY 11201 (718) 935-0439

2. 

Bronx

Citizens Advice Bureau: The Living Room (CAB) 890 Garrison Avenue (Between Tiffany and Berretta) Bronx, NY 10474 (718) 893-3606

3. 

Staten Island

Ferry Terminal Drop-to Center - Brighten Heights Church Project Hospitality, Inc. 25 Central Avenue Staten Island, NY 10301 (718) 720-0079

Outreach Teams

Access to shelter and programs can also be made through DHS's citywide outreach teams. Outreach teams work on the streets to identify homeless individuals, engage them to accept services, and refer them to shelters and drop-in centers.

Church and Synagogue Program (Partnership Shelters)

Church and Synagogue shelters are another alternative for homeless people. DHS has contracted with the Partnership for the Homeless to coordinate some 150 small shelters located throughout the city. They are run by community agencies, or church/synagogue based groups and usually have about 10 to 15 beds. A total of 600 - 850 beds per night, depending on seasonal fluctuations, are provided through this system.

These shelters are usually small, friendly and non-threatening settings, staffed primarily by volunteers. Not all Partnership Shelters are open seven days per week. Services vary; however, most provide meals, clothing, showers and help in obtaining entitlement, medical and psychiatric care. Residents are referred by a drop-in center or outreach team. A small number of churches and synagogues accept walk-ins.

For more information on Partnership Shelters contact:

Partnership for the Homeless 305 Seventh Avenue, 13th Floor New York, NY 10001-6008 (212) 645-3444 (800) 235-3444

Division of Family Services

The Division of Family Services manages programs and services for eligible families in need of emergency housing. Families include adult(s) with their children, couples without children who are legally married or who jointly receive some form of public assistance, or pregnant women without other children.

Services are provided only to those families who have no other permanent or temporary housing options. Currently there are two methods of accessing the shelter system, through PATH, a new intake process for homeless families which began in December 2004 or through EAU, see below, which gradually will be phased out.

Prevention Assistance and Temporary Housing (PATH)

The PATH center serves single pregnant women and families with children under age 21 who have never previously applied for shelter as the head of household. Applicants who have applied for shelter in the past should apply at the Emergency Assistance Unit (EAU), see below. The PATH center is located at 346 Powers Avenue in the Bronx and is open Monday through Friday 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. and from 9:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. on Saturday. If a family arrives at the PATH after hours they are directed to the EAU for temporary shelter and must return to the PATH the following day during business hours. No referral is needed.

Application and eligibility procedures for shelter have been streamlined and the intake process should take approximately 4 hours. In most cases families will be in a temporary shelter or in a Tier II shelter on a conditional basis pending the eligibility determination. There are beds located at the PATH center for families that are not placed the same day. The Eligibility Investigations Unit (EIU), (718) 402-8071, 7175, of the DHS determines eligibility for shelter. Applicants will have a mid-case review within 5 to 6 days of application, which will indicate their potential for eligibility. If they have a weak case, they will have an opportunity to get additional documents to strengthen their case. A final determination of eligibility should be made within 10 days.

To be eligible for shelter families must demonstrate they have no other available temporary or permanent housing options, and must cooperate with EIU's efforts to verify information. Families should bring photo identification and other supporting documents, e.g. birth certificates, eviction papers, referral letters, etc. to the EIU. Families will be asked where they have lived for the past two years and they will need to prove why they can no longer reside there. EIU will also investigate the possibility of the family living with other family members, if residing in NYC. If the family is found ineligible they may appeal the decision and can reapply, but they must do so at the EAU.

Emergency Assistance Unit (EAU)

At this time, only families who have applied for shelter in the past can apply at the EAU. No new applicants can apply through the EAU and must apply at the PATH, see above. The EAU is located in the Bronx at 151 East 151st Street at Walton Avenue, (718) 4026474, 6278. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and accepts families on a walk-in basis or through the Emergency Hotline, see below, although a referral is not needed. The Eligibility Investigations Unit, located at the EAU, interviews all families to determine eligibility for emergency shelter. The applications and eligibility review process is the same as the process conducted at the PATH. Families who are denied shelter can reapply at any time; there is no waiting period.

February 2006, the City changed their policy regarding providing shelter during the reapplication process. When a household reapplies for temporary housing within 90 days of being found ineligible they will be denied temporary shelter during the reapplication process unless one the following conditions exist: 1. A member of the household would be in immediate danger if he/she does not receive shelter (including for medical reasons); 2. There are new facts, information, or documents, or something has changed; 3. The primary tenant was evicted from the last place stayed; 4. A family member is a domestic violence victim, and the abuser lives in the last place you stayed or can find you; 5. A family member is a victim of child abuse, and the abuser lives in the last place you stayed or can find your child; 6. The household is re-applying more than 90 days after last having been found ineligible.

Additional Resources

1.  Job Centers: Families seeking emergency housing assistance may also go to a Public Assistance (PA) Office, called Job Centers (see Vol. II - Public Assistance, Section J 1, Local Offices and Contact Information for a list of centers), which serves their zip code. If in receipt of PA, the individual/family should go to their assigned center. At the JC Center, the family may see a worker from the Diversion Team to determine if their problem can be resolved without entering the emergency shelter system. (HRA Diversion Teams are described in more detail below.)

1.  Emergency Hotline (800) 994-6494: Families experiencing a housing emergency may obtain information on the emergency shelter system. 2.  Family Reception Centers and Hotels: During the assessment process, the PATH and the EAU may refer families to reception centers or hotels. Assessments can take 10 days to determine eligibility. After the assessment, approved families are referred to a Tier II shelter. 3.  Tier II Family Shelters: Tier II‟s are transitional facilities that provide a range of supportive services to enable families to return to permanent housing including day care, and training in housing, parenting and job skills. They provide private living quarters to families with cooking facilities and/or meals. Housing specialists in Tier II‟s assist families in completing housing applications, procuring housing subsidies and locating permanent housing. 4.  Rehousing: The DHS Division of Rehousing, through its Lend-A-Hand program, assists families in moving out of temporary housing by transporting families to their new apartments and dealing with landlords to make sure apartments are ready for occupancy.

Appeals

Families that have been denied shelter or found ineligible can: 1.  Reapply immediately for shelter at the EAU, 2.  Request a case conference (generally conducted by DHS lawyers) by going to the EAU after receipt of a denial notice, or 3.  Request a fair hearing. At a fair hearing, the city is represented by DHS lawyers. Families have the right to representation and a right to request a copy of their case file. These hearings are difficult to win and it is advisable for the family to obtain an advocate. Families denied shelter should contact one of the organizations listed under Resources and Information, at the end of this chapter, for assistance.

Additional Information NYC Department of Homeless Services 33 Beaver Street New York, NY 10038 (212) 361-8000, or 8600

Emergency Assistance Rehousing Program (EARP)

The EARP program has been eliminated, although those families already participating will continue to receive aid, as long as they continue to meet the requirements of the program.

Long-Term Stayer Rent Supplement Program (LTSP)

DHS has stopped issuing new LTSP assistance, although those families already participating will continue to receive aid until they have timed out of the program, as long as they meet the requirements of the program.

Advantage Assistance Rental Programs

Introduction

The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) provides short-term rental assistance in the form of a housing subsidy, which allows homeless families and individuals to move from a shelter into permanent housing. This rental assistance is available through the following programs:

5. 6. 7. 8.

Work Advantage Program (WAP) Fixed Income Advantage Program (FIA) Children Advantage Program (CA) Short Term Advantage Program

These programs replace the Housing Stability Plus (HSP) Program, which is currently being phased out. As of June 30th, 2007 no new applications are being accepted for the

HSP program. However, qualified HSP recipients may be eligible to transfer to the Work Advantage Program. See below, Transitioning from Housing Stability Plus to the Work Advantage Program. A description of each program is provided below.

Work Advantage Program

Summary

The Work Advantage Program (WAP) is a short-term housing subsidy program for families and individuals who are moving from a shelter to permanent housing. To be eligible households must be residing in a NYC municipal shelter or HRA domestic violence shelter, working a minimum of 20 hours a week, have earnings of less than 150% of the federal poverty level and have an open Public Assistance case. Households do not apply for this benefit; instead the City will notify the household of its eligibility. Upon notification, it is the household‟s responsibility to find a landlord that will accept the subsidy for the apartment. Once an apartment is located, a lease signing is scheduled and the subsidy is paid to the landlord. For detailed information on how the program works, read more below.

Benefit

WAP provides a rental subsidy of up to 90% of NYC‟s fair market rent (the maximum rental amount, see chart below), less $50, which is the recipient‟s responsibility, for a minimum of one year, with a possible extension of up to two years at DHS‟ discretion. The apartment‟s legal rent amount cannot be more than the allowed maximum rental amount, thus side deals between landlords and recipients facilitating this arrangement are not allowed. If the legal rent is less than the maximum rent amount, the subsidy will be based on the actual rent less the $50 monthly contribution required of the recipient.

Work Advantage Subsidy Amounts

Family Composition Maximum Rent Client Contribution Maximum Subsidy

1 $889 $50 $839

2 $962 $50 $912

3&4 $1,070 $50 $1,020

5&6 $1,316 $50 $1,266

7&8 $1,354 $50 $1,304

In addition to the monthly subsidy, a qualifying household is entitled to a one month security deposit, a broker‟s fee of 15% of the yearly rent, if applicable, a furniture allowance, if eligible, and moving costs.

Eligibility Criteria

Families with children, as well as singles and childless couples are eligible, if the following criteria are met:

9. Is working at least 20 hours per week „on the books‟ at minimum wage or above and have a household income of less than 150% of the Federal Poverty Level,

1. At time of application the household must have engaged in work for at least 30 days

2. After acceptance into WAP, if the household no longer engages in work, they continue to receive the benefit through the first 12 months; that is, if they lose their job, WAP will not be cut off during the first 12 months of eligibility

10. Have an open Public Assistance case or single issuance status in the first month of eligibility,

1. Definition of Single Issuance: Typically, a homeless household residing in a shelter will receive single issuance status when the household‟s budget calculation results in a zero budget, but meets all other eligibility criteria for Public Assistance, and thus is eligible for assistance for the cost of the shelter.

11. If a household is not currently in receipt of PA, they will be referred to the Riverview Job Center, which will open a PA or a single issuance case; this will allow the household to become eligible for WAP

12. If a member of the household is currently in sanction status, the household will be ineligible for WAP until the sanction is lifted.

2. Note: Ongoing PA eligibility is not a requirement to maintain the WAP. Once a household is determined eligible for WAP, if the household‟s Public Assistance case subsequently closes, the family will continue to be eligible for WAP.

13. Have resided in a shelter as follows:

1. DHS shelter family and adult couple residents at least 90 days, 2. Domestic Violence residents of HRA operated shelters at least 42 days, 3. Single adult residents at least 180 days in the last 12 months and must have entered the shelter before August 1, 2007

Note: Current HSP recipients who qualify for WAP and apply for WAP prior to August 31, 2008 may also be eligible for WAP. See below Transitioning from Housing Stability Plus to the Work Advantage Program.

Application Process

An eligible household does not initiate the application process. DHS shelter residents who are eligible will receive an eligibility notice from DHS; qualified domestic violence residents residing in a DV shelter will receive a notice from the Office of Domestic Violence. The letter will indicate the approved rental assistance amount and describe how the program works. Once the household receives the notification letter, the head of household will need to sign a Participant Statement of Understanding, available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dhs/downloads/pdf/wrkAdvnt_psu.pdf. The housing specialist or case manager at the shelter can provide these forms to eligible households. To date it is not clear whether the participant returns this form to the Office of Re-housing at DHS or if they sign it at the lease signing.

It is the household‟s responsibility to locate a landlord that will accept the subsidy for his/her apartment. For more information about locating an apartment, see below, Locating an Apartment. Once an apartment has been located, DHS will schedule a lease signing, which is held at 78 Catherine Street, Manhattan at the LIFE shelter. At the lease signing, up to one year‟s worth of rent is issued directly to the landlord, as follows: a full or pro-rated portion of the first month‟s rent (depending on the lease start date), the next two months of advance rent, and one month‟s security. Only the first month‟s rent will be paid in full, the second and third month the tenant must pay the $50 contribution directly to the landlord. The remaining nine months rent will be held in an escrow account to be paid to the landlord on a monthly basis. (DHS will inform HRA‟s Management Information Systems of the amount of money to be held in the escrow account). In addition, a broker‟s fee of 15% of the yearly rent, if applicable will be paid to the broker.

The DHS Intensive Case Unit (also known as Lend-a Hand Unit) will provide a furniture allowance, as well as moving assistance to the household. The household should complete a move authorization form, available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dhs/downloads/pdf/mv_auth_form.pdf and bring to the lease signing.

Ongoing Eligibility

Once the lease is signed, the recipient household is required to pay a $50 contribution to the landlord toward the rent amount. In addition, the household is required to save a minimum of 10% and up to 20% of the monthly rent in a savings account. At the end of the first year, a household may continue to receive the subsidy for an additional 12 months, if they:

14. Are working at least 20 hours per week at minimum wage or above and have a household income of less than 150% of the Federal Poverty Level, 1. Paid the landlord the $50 contribution each month toward the rent 2. Saved the required 10-20% of the monthly rent amount

If the household is found eligible for a second year of the Work Advantage program, the landlord must offer them a one-year lease renewal at the same rent level. Please Note: This requirement is not legally enforceable.

During receipt of the WAP, recipients are required to notify the Riverview Job Center of any change in income or family composition. Upon reevaluation of any such changes, the City may adjust the rent subsidy accordingly.

At the end of the household‟s eligibility, DHS will match the household‟s savings up to the maximum of 20% of the monthly rent (if the recipient household saved up to 20% of the monthly rent), as well as the monthly $50 contribution.

Example: A family of three has a monthly rent amount of $1,070. They are able to save $107 each month in their savings account and pay their landlord $50 each month toward the rent. They continue to be eligible for WAP for the second year. At the end of the second year, the family would have saved $2,568 (24 x $107). DHS will match their savings and the $50 monthly contribution, which equals $3,768 ($107 x 24) + ($50 x 24). With the DHS‟ match, their total savings will equal $ 6,336 ($2,568 + $3,768).

Budgeting Issues

Please note the following budgeting issues:

2. When calculating the FS budget for WAP households, the household‟s shelter costs will be budgeted at $50, not the actual household rent; however, the actual subsidy amount will not be counted as income when determining FS eligibility.

3. If the family is currently in receipt of Public Assistance, the WAP subsidy will be based on the difference between the PA shelter allowance and the maximum subsidy amount. That is, the PA shelter allowance plus the WAP subsidy will equal the maximum subsidy amount. If the lease indicates that the family is responsible for some or all utilities (except heat or hot water), the family will pay the utilities directly to the utility company.

15. While ongoing PA eligibility is not required for ongoing WAP assistance, if a household continues to be eligible for PA while in receipt of WAP, the required savings will not count toward the resource limits for the PA and Food Stamp programs. However, if a household no longer receives WAP and reapplies for PA, these assets would count when determining the household‟s eligibility.

Fixed Income Advantage Program

Summary

The Fixed Income Advantage (FIA) Program is a short-term housing subsidy program for families and individuals who are moving from a NYC shelter to permanent housing. To be eligible households must be residing in a shelter, have a household member who is in receipt of a fixed income such as SSI and/or SSDI, veteran‟s pensions, or other or federally recognized disabled benefit and have an open Public Assistance case. A household does not apply for this benefit; instead the City will notify the household of its eligibility. Upon notification of eligibility, it is the household‟s responsibility to find a landlord that will accept the subsidy for the apartment. Once an apartment is located, a lease signing is scheduled and the subsidy is paid to the landlord. During the time of eligibility DHS will assist the household in applying for Section 8. For detailed information on how the program works, read below.

Benefit

The Fixed Income Advantage (FIA) Program provides a rental subsidy of up to 90% of the Fair Market Rent (FMR), the maximum rent allowance, for one year, see the chart below. The FIA subsidy is equal to the total amount of the maximum rent allowance, and is based on the family‟s size and composition (including gender and age), which determines the number of bedrooms the family qualifies for. Unlike the Work Advantage Program, the FIA program does not require the household to make a $50 monthly contribution toward the rent amount.

Fixed Income Advantage Subsidy Amounts

Number of Bedrooms Maximum Rent

0 $889

1 $962

2 $1,070

3 $1,316

4 $1,354

In addition to the monthly subsidy, a qualifying household is entitled to one month security deposit, a broker‟s fee of 15% of the yearly rent, if applicable, a furniture allowance, if eligible, moving costs, and a priority application for a Section 8 voucher.

Eligibility Criteria

16. Must have resided in a shelter as follows:

1. Family shelter residents residing in a DHS-funded or operated shelter/hotel at least 90 days 2. Domestic Violence residents residing in an HRA-operated shelter at least 42 days

3. Homeless singles in shelter 90 days within the last 12 months, prior to August 1, 2007

1. A member of the household is in receipt of a fixed income benefit, such as SSI/SSDI Veteran‟s Pension or other federally recognized disability benefit

1. Please Note: The fixed incomes listed above are examples of types of income that are accepted; however, other fixed incomes such as Social Security retirement benefits or pensions should be eligible for this program.

2. Have an open Public Assistance case or single issuance

1. If a household is not currently in receipt of PA, they will be referred to the Riverview Job Center, who will open a PA or a single issuance case; this will allow the household to become eligible for FIA

3. There are no work requirements for FIA.

Application Process

The household does not initiate the application process. Shelter residents who are eligible will receive a Fixed Income Advantage program notice from HRA regarding their eligibility; qualified domestic violence residents residing in HRA operated DV shelters will receive a notice from the Office of Domestic Violence. The letter will indicate the approved rental assistance amount and describe how the program works. Once the household receives this notification letter, the head of household will need to sign a Participant Statement of Understanding, available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dhs/downloads/pdf/wrkAdvnt_psu.pdf. To date it is not clear whether the participant returns this form to the Office of Re-housing at DHS or if they sign it at the lease signing.

It is the household‟s responsibility to locate a landlord that will accept the subsidy for his/her apartment. For more information about locating an apartment see below, Locating an Apartment. Once an apartment has been located, DHS will schedule a lease signing, which is held at 78 Catherine Street, Manhattan at the LIFE shelter. The household should complete a Section 8 application, with the assistance of their shelter case worker, to bring with them to the lease signing. At the lease signing, up to one year‟s worth of rent is issued directly to the landlord, as follows: a full or pro-rated portion of the first month‟s rent (depending on the lease start date), the next two months of advance rent, and one month‟s security. The remaining nine months rent will be held in an escrow account to be paid to the landlord on a monthly basis. In addition, a broker‟s fee of 15% of the yearly rent, if applicable will be paid to the broker.

The DHS Intensive Case Unit (also known as Lend-a Hand Unit) will provide a furniture allowance, as well as moving assistance to the household. The household should complete a move authorization form, available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dhs/downloads/pdf/mv_auth_form.pdf and bring to the lease signing.

Ongoing Eligibility

Households are eligible to receive aftercare services from HomeBase – community based organizations that provide eviction prevention and diversion services for constituents in their community. See below, HomeBase, for more information. HomeBase after care workers will follow through with recipients in filing the Section 8 application to ensure they obtain an apartment prior to the completion of the 12 months of FIA. If the household is found eligible for Section 8, the household must accept the Section 8 voucher and comply with all the requirements of the program, including providing all necessary documentation, attending all required appointments and paying 30% of the household‟s income to the landlord. The household‟s current apartment should convert to a Section 8 apartment (with the landlord‟s original consent when first registering his/her apartment with the program). If the conversion occurs before the 12 months of FIA is completed, the FIA rent subsidy will end. Certification for Section 8 is determined by NYCHA and acceptance into the program is not guaranteed. If the household is found ineligible for Section 8, the household will continue to get the FIA subsidy through the year. At the end of the 12 months, the household will become responsible for paying the full rent to the landlord, if the household decides to renew the lease.

Budgeting Issues

The following budgeting issues apply:

17. When calculating the FS budget for FIA households, the shelter costs will be budgeted at $0, however, the actual subsidy amount will not be counted as income when determining FS eligibility.

18. When determining the standard of need for families receiving the FIA rent supplement, the SSI members are invisible if there are dependent children in the household.

19. Participants in the FIA or Children Advantage program are not required to contribute money toward the rent or save money in a savings account.

Children Advantage Program

Summary

The Children Advantage Program is a short-term housing subsidy program for families with an open Administration Children Services (ACS) preventative or foster care case who are moving from a NYC shelter to permanent housing. To be eligible households must reside in a shelter and have an open Public Assistance case. A household does not apply for this benefit; instead the City will notify households of their eligibility. Upon notification of eligibility, it is the household‟s responsibility to find a landlord that will accept the subsidy for the apartment. Once an apartment is located, a lease signing is scheduled and the subsidy is paid to the landlord. During the time of eligibility DHS will assist the household in applying for Section 8. For detailed information on how the program works, read below.

Benefit

The Children Advantage (CA) Program is available to families with an open Administration for Children Services (ACS) preventative or foster care case residing in a NYC shelter. Like the Fixed Income Advantage Program the CA program provides a rental subsidy of up to 90% of the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for one year, the maximum rent allowance, see the chart below. The CA subsidy is equal to the total amount of the maximum rent allowance, and is based on the family‟s size and composition (including gender and age), which determines the number of bedrooms the family qualifies for. Unlike the Working Advantage Program, the CA program does not require the household to make a $50 monthly contribution toward the rent amount.

Children Advantage Subsidy Amounts

Number of Bedrooms Maximum Rent

0 $889

1 $962

2 $1,070

3 $1,316

4 $1,354

In addition to the monthly subsidy, a qualifying household is entitled to a one month security deposit, a broker‟s fee of 15% of the yearly rent, if applicable, a furniture allowance, if eligible, moving costs, and a priority application for Section 8 housing.

Eligibility Criteria

20. Must have resided in a shelter as follows:

1. Family shelter residents residing in a DHS-funded or operated shelter/hotel at least 90 days 2. Domestic Violence residents residing in an HRA-operated shelter at least 42 days

3. At least one family member has an open ACS case

4. Must be eligible for a single issuance or have an open Public Assistance case

1. If a household is not currently in receipt of PA, they will be referred to the Riverview Job Center, which will open a PA or a single issuance case; this will allow the household to become eligible for CA

5. There are no work or income requirements.

Application Process

The household does not initiate the application process. Shelter residents who are eligible will receive a Children Advantage program notice from ACS regarding their eligibility. ACS must notify DHS that they are referring the client for the program; DHS will not initiate eligibility for any Children Advantage case. Qualified domestic violence residents residing in HRA operated DV shelters will receive a notice from the Office of Domestic Violence. The notice will indicate the approved rental assistance amount and describe how the program works. Once the household receives this certification letter, the head of household will need to sign a Participant Statement of Understanding, available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dhs/downloads/pdf/wrkAdvnt_psu.pdf . To date it is not clear whether the participant returns this form to the Office of Re-housing at DHS or if they sign it at the lease signing.

It is the household‟s responsibility to locate a landlord that will accept the subsidy for his/her apartment. For more information about locating an apartment see below, Locating an Apartment. Once an apartment has been located, DHS will schedule a lease signing, which is held at 78 Catherine Street, Manhattan at the LIFE shelter. The household should complete a Section 8 application, with the assistance of their shelter case worker, to bring with them to the lease signing. At the lease signing, up to one year‟s worth of rent is issued directly to the landlord, as follows: a full or pro-rated portion of the first month‟s rent (depending on the lease start date), the next two months

of advance rent, and one month‟s security. The remaining nine months rent will be held in an escrow account to be paid to the landlord on a monthly basis. (DHS will inform HRA‟s Management Information Systems of the amount of money to be held in the escrow account). In addition, a broker‟s fee of 15% of the yearly rent, if applicable will be paid to the broker.

The DHS Intensive Case Unit (also known as Lend-a Hand Unit) will provide a furniture allowance, as well as moving assistance to the household. The household should complete a move authorization form, available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dhs/downloads/pdf/mv_auth_form.pdf and bring to the lease signing.

Ongoing Eligibility

Households are eligible to receive aftercare services from HomeBase – community based organizations that provide eviction prevention and diversion services for constituents in their community. See below, HomeBase, for more information. HomeBase after care workers will follow through with recipients in filing the Section 8 application to ensure they obtain an apartment prior to the completion of the 12 months of CA. If the household is found eligible for Section 8, the household must accept the Section 8 voucher and comply with all the requirements of the program, including providing all necessary documentation, attending all required appointments and paying 30% of the household‟s income to the landlord. The household‟s current apartment should convert to a Section 8 apartment (with the landlord‟s original consent when first registering his/her apartment with the program). If the conversion occurs before the 12 months of CA is completed, the CA rent subsidy will end. Certification for Section 8 is determined by NYCHA and acceptance into the program is not guaranteed. If the household is found ineligible for Section 8, the household will become responsible for paying the full rent to the landlord, if they decide to renew the lease, at the end of the 12 months.

Budgeting Issues

The following budgeting issues apply:

4. When calculating the FS budget for CA households, the shelter costs will be budgeted at $0, however, the actual subsidy amount will not be counted as income when determining FS eligibility.

5. Participants in the FIA or Children Advantage program are not required to contribute money toward the rent or save money in a savings account.

Short Term Advantage Program

Summary

The Short Term Advantage Program is a short-term housing subsidy program for families and individuals who are moving from a NYC shelter to permanent housing. To be eligible households must be working, have earnings between 150 and 200% of the federal poverty level, have resided in a shelter, and have an open Public Assistance case. Households do not apply for this benefit; instead once they have notified their housing specialist or case manager at the shelter, the shelter will work with the Riverview Job Center to process the benefit. For detailed information on how the program works, read below.

Benefit

A qualifying household is entitled to four months of advance rent (while the rent amounts are not yet published, it appears the maximum levels will be the same as with the Work Advantage Program), which is issued directly to the landlord, one month security deposit, a broker‟s fee of 15% of the yearly rent, if applicable, furniture allowance, if necessary, moving costs.

Eligibility Criteria

21. Must be working a minimum of 20 hours at minimum wage or more with incomes between 150% and 200% of the Federal Poverty Level

22. Must have resided in a shelter as follows:

1. Family shelter residents at least 60 days 2. Homeless singles in shelter 90 days within the last 12 months 3. HomeBase may also assist families and singles with applying for Short Term Advantage program

6. Families and singles must have an active Public Assistance case in single issuance status with $0 budget

Application Process

The household does not initiate the application process. Once the household presents a lease to his/her case manager or housing specialist at the shelter, the shelter will notify the Riverview Job Center that the household is applying for the Short-term Advantage Program. If the household is not currently an active PA case or in single issuance status, the Riverview staff will process the household for single issuance status. The Riverview Job Center will generate a check for the landlord and broker.

Required Documents

23. Copy of lease or letter from the landlord or broker 24. Employment verification letter 25. Award letter from Social Security or other benefit program 26. Copy of deed or water bill from the landlord, if the unit has less than 6 units 27. Copy of broker‟s license 28. Landlord/broker request letter 29. Client contribution letter from the client detailing how much, if any s/he can contribute to the rent

30. Residency letter stating name, relationship and date of birth of all family members 31. For Short-term Advantage Program requires that HomeBase have a plan in place to ensure long term housing stability

Locating an Apartment

Qualified households accepted into any of the Advantage rental assistance programs, must locate a landlord (with the assistance of shelter staff) that will accept the rental assistance for the apartment. Once an apartment is located, the landlord must register the apartment(s) with DHS by contacting the DHS Office of Rehousing at 212-3616611,12,13,14. (Landlords can also register their apartments before locating a tenant. Approximately every month DHS publishes a list of available registered apartments.) DHS will conduct an initial check to ensure that the building is a legal residential unit and that there are no major outstanding building code violations. Once the apartment passes this initial check, the landlord can schedule an inspection by calling 212-607-5310. If the apartment does not pass inspection, it is up to the landlord to fix all violations in order to pass the inspection criteria. All Work Advantage, Fixed Income Advantage and Children Advantage apartments will be inspected using Section 8 quality standards, a Short Term Advantage apartment located in NYC will also be inspected using Section 8 standards. In addition, landlords who accept Fixed Income Advantage and Children Advantage recipients must agree to convert their apartments to a Section 8 apartment, if the FIA or CA recipient qualifies for Section 8.

After a successful inspection, the landlord can schedule a lease signing by faxing a request to 718-688-8631, the DHS Office of Re-housing. To schedule a lease signing appointment landlords/brokers should fax an all required documents to 718-688-8681. Documents can be downloaded at www.nyc.gov/html/dhs/html/rent/rentprog_docs.shtml. The Office of Re-housing will contact the broker or landlord and housing specialist – the individual at the shelter who assists households with locating permanent housing, to schedule a lease signing; the housing specialist or case worker will contact the recipient household to inform them of the lease signing date. All lease signing appointments take place at 78 Catherine Street, Manhattan at the LIFE Shelter.

HomeBase

DHS‟ HomeBase are community based agencies who have contracted with DHS to provide eviction prevention and diversion services for constituents in their community. Each HomeBase program will receive contact information for all client placements into permanent housing in their service areas, and will reach out to Advantage program participants, letting them know where to go for help. Also, at lease signing the client should receive information about HomeBase and the closest location of the HomeBase office. Aftercare services are available to all clients and include help with upgrading jobs, household budgeting, tenancy and legal services. Aftercare services will also be available for clients who need assistance with the WAP recertification process.

All Children Advantage and Fixed Income Advantage clients will be directly linked to a HomeBase provider who assist them in the Section 8 application process or help design an alternative permanent housing plan.

Note: To date HomeBase is not available on a city-wide basis. Thus, recipients may not be referred to a HomeBase program. Recipients should call the DHS Prevention Unit at 212-487-7933 for HomeBase referral information.

Transferring from Housing Stability Plus to Work Advantage Program

Summary

The Housing Stability Plus (HSP) program was a housing supplement program that provided rental assistance for households moving from a shelter to permanent housing. Households were only eligible for the program for a maximum of five years and the amount of supplement decreased by 20% every year. HSP is currently being phased out, with the creation of the Advantage programs. Current HSP recipients may be able to convert their HSP subsidy into the Work Advantage Program, however, not into the Fixed Income Advantage or Children Advantage programs.

Eligibility Criteria

1. Be working at least 20 hours per week at minimum wage or above and have a household income of less than 150% of the Federal Poverty Level,

2. Have an active PA case or are eligible for single issuance

1. A special process has been created to allow HSP cases that were closed after July 20, 2007 (who are ineligible for PA because of excess income) to obtain an active PA status

Application Process

Households do not initiate the application process. HSP recipients who are WAP eligible should have received a notice dated August 15, 2007 either explaining their eligibility for WAP or explaining how the program works and inviting them to become eligible. To begin the transition process, HSP recipients should call the number listed in the letter, 212-331-4200, the DHS hotline specifically dedicated to HSP recipients. DHS will refer clients to HRA to open a single issuance case. Once their eligibility has been verified they will receive a work advantage program notice from HRA informing them of their eligibility and indicating the approved rental assistance amount and how the program works. The head of household will need to sign a Participant Statement of Understanding, available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dhs/downloads/pdf/wrkAdvnt_psu.pdf and return it to the Office of Re-housing at DHS. The opportunity to convert from HSP to Work Advantage will expire August 31, 2008.

If eligible, the household should find out if their current landlord is willing to participate in the Work Advantage Program. If the landlord is willing, the household and the landlord will need to sign a new Work Advantage lease. If the landlord is unwilling to convert the apartment into a Work Advantage apartment, the HSP recipient can still convert to WAP by finding a new apartment that accepts WAP. The household can either wait till the end of their current lease term, or seek to leave their current lease, if the landlord agrees, or if there are other special circumstances. A new apartment will need to be inspected with Section 8 criteria.

After the apartment inspection, a lease signing can be scheduled. At lease signing, up to one year‟s worth of rent is issued directly to the landlord, as follows: a full or pro-rated portion of the first month‟s rent (depending on the lease start date), the next two months of advance rent, and one month‟s security. Only the first month‟s rent will be paid in full, the second and third month the tenant must pay the $50 contribution directly to the landlord. The remaining nine months rent will be held in an escrow account to be paid to the landlord on a monthly basis. In addition, a broker‟s fee of 15% of the yearly rent, if applicable will be paid. When the household converts to Work Advantage, their participation in HSP will end.

If the household is unable to unwilling to transition to Work Advantage before August 31, 2008, they will continue to receive the HSP supplement at their current rate; that is, there will be no further reduction in their HSP rent supplement for the remainder of their five years in the program. Note: The HSP rent supplement will still be affected by PA case closing, sanctions or changes in income.

For more information about HSP recipients transitioning to WAP, clients and advocates can call the DHS at 212-331-4200 Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Ongoing Eligibility

Once the lease is signed, the recipient household is required to pay a $50 contribution to the landlord toward the rent amount, as well as save a minimum of 10% and up to 20% of the monthly rent in a savings account At the end of the household‟s eligibility DHS will match the savings up to the maximum of 20% of the monthly rent (if the recipient household saved up to 20% of the monthly rent), as well as the monthly $50 contribution. See above, Work Advantage Program, Ongoing Eligibility for more information.

At the end of the first year, households may continue to be eligible for WAP, if they:

32. Are working at least 20 hours per week at minimum wage or above and have a household income of less than 150% of the Federal Poverty Level,

4. Paid the landlord the $50 contribution each month toward the rent 5. Saved the required 10-20% of the monthly rent amount

If the household is found eligible for a second year of the Work Advantage program, the landlord must offer them a one-year lease renewal at the same rent level, although this is not legally enforceable.

FEPS Eligibility

HSP families may also be eligible for FEPS, the family eviction prevention subsidy. Refer to Vol. II, Public Assistance, Section J1, Special Grants, Housing Related Grants. Households must be currently sued for nonpayment, have an open PA case, are not seeking rental arrears for a sanction month, and do not have any other income to cover the step down. FEPS has a five year time limit and any time on HSP will count against the five years in FEPS.

HUMAN RESOURCES ADMINISTRATION (HRA)

Diversion Teams

Diversion Teams operate from NYC HRA Job Centers. Their purpose is to maintain families in permanent housing and avoid their placement in a shelter. The Diversion Teams assist by negotiating, intervening and advocating on behalf of families who are homeless, or are imminently at risk of becoming homeless. Currently, Diversion Teams serve families at the Job Centers, weekdays from 9:00 to 5:00.

Services

The main activities of the Diversion Teams are:

1. Eviction Prevention: Clients who have a dispossess notice, an eviction pending, or otherwise in danger of becoming homeless, and the housing emergency cannot be resolved by their PA worker, are referred to a Diversion Team. Referrals can also be made to the Diversion Team by the HRA Housing Court Unit, which assists tenants facing eviction in housing court.

2. Housing Assistance: This includes post-eviction intervention with NYC Public Housing and Section 8 rental assistance applications, third party rent intervention, assistance in locating new housing, and incentives for doubled-up situations.

Advocacy Tip: The Diversion Team can assist with rent arrears‟ payments to avert or forestall a legal action, negotiating repair issues with landlords through the housing court process, or the Administration of Children Services (ACS) subsidy for a families seeking permanent housing.

Rental Assistance Unit (RAU)

The RAU was created to prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless. Referrals to RAU come from Job Centers, Diversion Teams, housing court staff, Adult Protective Services (APS); Administration for Children Services, Legal Aid, elected officials and CBO‟s. This unit is called upon to prevent evictions by reviewing the circumstances of a pending eviction and subsequently determining whether the applicant/recipient is eligible to receive an emergency assistance grant. Emergency assistance grants are available for those who are threatened with eviction and meet the criteria for such assistance (refer to Vol. I - Emergency Assistance Grants, Section D 1, 2 & 3.) RAU workers are located in the Job Centers and at each housing court unit.

For assistance, clients should contact the Diversion Team at the Job Center that services their zip code area (refer to Vol. II - Public Assistance, Section J 1, Local Offices and Contact Information for a list) or call the HRA toll free Infoline at (877) HRA-8411.

SUPPORTIVE HOUSING

Supportive housing is available for low income, formerly homeless adults who have mental or physical disabilities, or are living with HIV/AIDS. Supportive housing is permanent housing that includes some level of voluntary support services for residents. The housing options include supportive SROs, community residences and MICA (Mentally Ill Chemically Addicted) community residences; residential care centers for adults, and adult homes.

To apply for supportive housing, complete the New York City housing referral application, form HRA 2000, which includes the applicant‟s diagnosis. The completed HRA 2000 is submitted HRA‟s Office of Health and Mental Health Services, which reviews and approves the application. Completed applications should be mailed to:

HRA Office of Health and Mental Health Services 2 Washington Street, 17th Floor New York, NY 10004

Assistance with completing applications can be provided by HRA‟s Residential Placement Management Systems (RPMS), part of the Office of Health and Mental Health Services. Some supportive housing facilities accept general applications directly from homeless and low-income individuals. Each residence has a separate intake process and should first be called for intake criteria.

The Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS) Residential Placement Management System provides assistance with supportive housing placements, including the HRA 2000 application. They also publish a biweekly vacancy and information update that identifies vacancies in SRO‟s, community residences and other housing options.

Center for Urban and Community Services

2212 Third Avenue New York, NY 10035 (212) 801-3333

NYC DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING PRESERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT (HPD)

The NYC HPD provides a wide range of housing and programmatic activities for homeless families and individuals. The following describes the services and procedures for families and individuals through HPD's Division of Relocation Operations.

33. Emergency Housing Services Bureau: (212) 863-8561

Provides emergency relocation services to tenants displaced as a result of fires or vacate orders issued by the Department of Buildings, Fire Department or HPD Code Enforcement. Owners of residential buildings must provide the names and apartment numbers of all legal tenants in occupancy to emergency staff in the event of a buildingwide emergency, such as a fire or vacate order. The Emergency Housing Services Bureau assists these tenants with temporary housing at one of 4 family centers or at Red Cross contracted hotels and facilities.

3. Tenant Support Services (TSS): (212) 863-5777

Provides a variety of services primarily to families and individuals in HPD-managed buildings to prevent those families from becoming homeless. TSS programs provide early and crisis intervention services to aid families and individuals. These services include referrals to social services agencies and workshops on family and life skills issues, including parenting, health, nutrition and home and financial management.

VOLUNTARY/PRIVATE SHELTERS

A number of voluntary agencies operate emergency shelters, each with different referral criteria for homeless individuals. They provide their own screening and offer meals, beds, clothes and some social services. It is important to note these programs are small and have limited space. It is always advisable to call before referring anyone to these shelters. The most complete listing of these shelters can be found in Reference Manual for Food, Shelter, and Services for Homeless New Yorkers available from the Coalition for the Homeless, see below, Resources and Information.

LOCAL OFFICES AND CONTACT INFORMATION

NYC Department of Homeless Services Main Administrative Office 33 Beaver Street New York, NY 10004 (212) 361-8000 http://www.nyc.gov/html/dhs/

RESOURCES AND INFORMATION

American Red Cross to Greater New York Disaster Services 150 Amsterdam Ave. New York, NY 10023 (212) 787-1000

Provides grants and/or other provisions for shelter, food or clothing for those in an emergency.

Coalition for the Homeless 129 Fulton Street. New York, NY 10038 (212) 776-2000 http://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org Provides advocacy and policy analysis in areas such as homeless services, housing, public assistance and mental health. They also provide client advocacy for homeless families and individuals who encounter problems in the municipal shelter system. Information on shelters and resources for the homeless is available on the web site. Homes for the Homeless 50 Cooper Square New York, NY 10003 (212) 529-5252

Operates shelters and direct service programs for families. Provides education and training to enable homeless families to regain and retain permanent housing.

Legal Aid Society Homeless Family Rights Project 199 Water Street New York, NY 10038 (800) 649-9125 (Intake: Tuesday – 10 am to 12 pm)

Provides legal assistance and advice to homeless families with children and backup assistance to non-legal advocates working with homeless families. Provides training on the rights of homeless families for groups of homeless families and the staff of community organizations and service providers. Counsel to affirmative litigation to secure and enforce the rights of homeless families to safe, suitable, and adequate emergency housing, assistance, and services.

Legal Clinic for the Homeless Community Outreach Law Program 42 West 44th Street, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10036-6690 (212) 382-6708

Provides legal assistance to homeless individual and families regarding welfare and other legal issues. The Association has approximately six walk-to legal clinics per month, at soup kitchens, shelters, and drop centers.

Partnership for the Homeless 305 Seventh Avenue New York, NY 10001

(212) 645-3444

Operates 150 shelters through churches and synagogues throughout New York City. Provides referrals education, skills training and permanent jobs. Assists formerly homeless families and individuals in furnishing new homes.

Urban Justice Center 123 William Street, 16thFloor New York, NY 10038 (646) 602-5600

Provides legal assistance to homeless individuals around issues concerning their homelessness. This may include Public Assistance applications, appeals and hearings, eviction and housing conditions, gaining registered status for undocumented aliens, etc.


				
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