Bill Text: NY S02375 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced

Bill Title: Relates to the creation of home stability support supplement programs.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 35-1)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-02-11 - REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO FINANCE [S02375 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-S02375-Introduced.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                    IN SENATE
                                    January 24, 2019
          -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to
          the Committee on Social Services
        AN ACT to amend the social services law, in relation to  home  stability
          support programs
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. The social services law is amended by adding a new  section
     2  131-bb to read as follows:
     3    §  131-bb. Home stability support program.  1. (a) Notwithstanding any
     4  other provision of law to  the  contrary,  each  local  social  services
     5  district  shall provide a shelter supplement to eligible individuals and
     6  families to prevent eviction and address homelessness in accordance with
     7  this section.
     8    (b) For the purposes of this section:
     9    (i) "homeless" shall mean the lack of a fixed, regular,  and  adequate
    10  nighttime  residence;  having  a  primary  nighttime residence that is a
    11  public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular
    12  sleeping accommodation for human beings, including a  car,  park,  aban-
    13  doned  building,  bus  or  train station, airport or campground or other
    14  places not meant for human habitation; living in a  supervised  publicly
    15  or  privately  operated  shelter  designated to provide temporary living
    16  arrangements (including hotels and motels paid for by federal, state  or
    17  local  government  programs  for low-income individuals or by charitable
    18  organizations, congregate shelters, or transitional housing); exiting an
    19  institution where they  resided  and  will  lack  a  regular  fixed  and
    20  adequate  nighttime residence upon release or discharge; or are an unac-
    21  companied youth and homeless families with children and youth defined as
    22  homeless under either this paragraph or federal statute who have experi-
    23  enced a long-term period without living independently in permanent hous-
    24  ing; have experienced persistent instability  as  measured  by  frequent
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        S. 2375                             2
     1  moves;  and  can  be expected to continue in such status for an extended
     2  period of time because of chronic disabilities, chronic physical  health
     3  or  mental health conditions, substance addiction, histories of domestic
     4  violence  or  childhood  abuse,  the presence of a child or youth with a
     5  disability, or multiple barriers to employment, or  other  dangerous  or
     6  life-threatening   conditions,   including  conditions  that  relate  to
     7  violence against an individual or a family member; and
     8    (ii) "imminent loss of housing" shall mean having received a  verified
     9  rent  demand  or  a petition for eviction; having received a court order
    10  resulting from an eviction action that notifies the individual or family
    11  that they must leave their  housing;  facing  loss  of  housing  due  to
    12  hazardous  conditions, including but not limited to asbestos, lead expo-
    13  sure, mold, and radon; having a primary nighttime residence  that  is  a
    14  room  in  a  hotel  or  motel  and lack the resources necessary to stay;
    15  facing loss of the primary nighttime residence, which may include living
    16  in the home of another household, where the owner or renter of the hous-
    17  ing will not allow the individual or family to stay,  provided  further,
    18  that an assertion from an individual or family member alleging such loss
    19  of housing or homelessness shall be sufficient to establish eligibility;
    20  or,  fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence,
    21  sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking or other dangerous or  life-
    22  threatening conditions that relate to violence against the individual or
    23  a  family  member, provided further that an assertion from an individual
    24  or family member alleging such abuse and loss of housing shall be suffi-
    25  cient to establish eligibility.
    26    2. (a) Each local social services district  shall  provide  a  shelter
    27  supplement  to  eligible individuals and families as defined in subdivi-
    28  sion three of this section in an amount equal to eighty-five percent  of
    29  the  fair  market  rent  in  the district, as established by the federal
    30  department of housing and urban development,  for  the  particular  unit
    31  size.  The  shelter  supplement  shall  be  issued  by  the local social
    32  services district directly to the landlord or vendor.
    33    (b) A local social services district may also  provide  an  additional
    34  supplement  in excess of eighty-five percent of the fair market rent, up
    35  to one hundred percent of the fair  market  rent  in  the  district,  as
    36  established  by the federal department of housing and urban development.
    37  Provided, however, the cost of the additional supplement shall  be  paid
    38  by the local social services district.
    39    (c)  As part of the supplement referenced in this subdivision, when an
    40  eligible recipient, as defined in subdivision  three  of  this  section,
    41  incurs  separate  fuel  for  heating expenses, the local social services
    42  district shall provide additional  funds  to  cover  such  expenses,  in
    43  excess  of  the  amount  already  required for shelter costs pursuant to
    44  paragraph (a) of this  subdivision.  Such  heating  allowance  shall  be
    45  equivalent to the full amount of fuel for heating expenses, and shall be
    46  made  directly  to  the  vendor on behalf of the recipient. Any expenses
    47  incurred by the local social services district that are (i) in excess of
    48  a recipient's fuel for heating allowance authorized  pursuant  to  para-
    49  graph (b) of subdivision two of section one hundred thirty-one-a of this
    50  title;  (ii)  made  pursuant to section ninety-seven of this chapter; or
    51  (iii) to cover any arrears payments made to restore heating services  or
    52  to prevent a shut-off, shall not be recoupable.
    53    (d)  Individuals  not  in  receipt of public assistance, residing in a
    54  household that is  benefiting  from  a  shelter  supplement  under  this
    55  section  shall  be  required to contribute thirty percent of their gross
    56  income, or their pro rata share of the rent, whichever  is  less.  Minor

        S. 2375                             3
     1  children  without  income  shall  not  be  counted in the pro rata share
     2  equation. In addition, the income of minor children shall not be consid-
     3  ered part of the gross income.
     4    (e)  Any supplement or allowance provided under this section shall not
     5  be considered to be part of the standard of need as defined in paragraph
     6  (b) of subdivision ten of  section  one  hundred  thirty-one-a  of  this
     7  title.
     8    (f)  In  the  event that the local social services district determines
     9  that payment of rental arrears would  prevent  homelessness  and  subse-
    10  quently pays such arrears, such payments shall not be recoupable.
    11    3.  (a)  For  the  period beginning October first, two thousand twenty
    12  until September thirtieth,  two  thousand  twenty-one,  individuals,  or
    13  families, who are eligible for public assistance, are either homeless or
    14  face an imminent loss of housing, and are not currently receiving anoth-
    15  er  shelter  supplement  shall  be  eligible  for the shelter supplement
    16  provided under this section.
    17    (b) On and after October first, two thousand  twenty-one,  individuals
    18  or  families who are eligible for public assistance and are (i) homeless
    19  or face an imminent loss of housing, and  are  not  currently  receiving
    20  another  shelter  supplement;  or (ii) currently in receipt of a shelter
    21  supplement, other than a supplement required by this  section,  that  is
    22  being  transferred  to  the  home  stability support program pursuant to
    23  subdivision eight of this section, shall be  eligible  for  the  shelter
    24  supplement provided under this section.
    25    4.  (a)  Local  social  services  districts  shall provide the shelter
    26  supplement required under this section for up to  five  years,  provided
    27  such  individuals  or families are otherwise eligible for public assist-
    28  ance. A shelter supplement may be provided for an additional  length  of
    29  time for good cause.
    30    (b)  If an individual or family receiving the shelter supplement is no
    31  longer  eligible  for  public  assistance,  the  local  social  services
    32  district shall continue to provide the shelter supplement, and if appro-
    33  priate  heating  allowance,  for one year from the date of such determi-
    34  nation, so long as their income does not exceed two hundred  percent  of
    35  the federal poverty level.
    36    5.  The shelter supplement and heating allowance shall not be affected
    37  by a recipient's sanction status.
    38    6. (a) The commissioner shall contract with  not-for-profit  agencies,
    39  that  have  experience  providing  support  services to the homeless and
    40  at-risk of homelessness populations, for the purpose of  providing  home
    41  stability  support services. Such services shall assist eligible recipi-
    42  ents, as defined in subdivision three of this section, in avoiding home-
    43  lessness and achieving long-term housing stability.  Such services shall
    44  include, but not be limited to:
    45    (i) services to resolve conflicts between landlords and tenants and to
    46  facilitate fair and workable solutions;
    47    (ii) referrals to legal services to  households  threatened  with  the
    48  loss of their homes through eviction, harassment or other means;
    49    (iii)  benefit/entitlement  advocacy  to  ensure  that  households are
    50  receiving all federal, state and local benefits to which they are  enti-
    51  tled, such as temporary assistance to needy families, safety net assist-
    52  ance,  supplemental  nutrition assistance program, supplemental security
    53  income, rent security deposits, furniture and household moving expenses,
    54  medical assistance; and
    55    (iv) relocation assistance which provides for  the  identification  of
    56  and   referral   to  permanent  and  habitable  housing,  transportation

        S. 2375                             4
     1  services, landlord/tenant lease negotiation services and  assistance  in
     2  establishing utility services.
     3    (b)  The  commissioner  shall    issue a request-for-proposal for home
     4  stability support services. The request-for-proposal shall include:
     5    (i) a description  of  the  home  stability  support  services  to  be
     6  provided,  including  procedures  for  intake,  referral,  outreach, the
     7  provision of services, follow-up and anticipated outcomes;
     8    (ii) a description of the manner  in  which  coordination  with  other
     9  federal,  state,  local  and privately funded services will be achieved;
    10  and
    11    (iii) a description of how the services will  be  designed  to  assist
    12  households to achieve housing stability.
    13    (c)  Prior  to  entering into a contract pursuant to this subdivision,
    14  the commissioner shall determine that the eligible applicant is  a  bona
    15  fide  organization which shall have demonstrated by its past and current
    16  activities that it has the ability to provide such  services,  that  the
    17  organization  is financially responsible and that the proposal is appro-
    18  priate for the needs of households to be served.
    19    7. The home stability support program shall provide for up to a  total
    20  of fourteen thousand new shelter supplements a year statewide, and funds
    21  shall  be  distributed  to  each local social services district based on
    22  their pro rata share of households below the federal  poverty  level  in
    23  the  state,  using the most recent United States census data as of April
    24  first, two thousand nineteen, and annually thereafter.
    25    8. If local social services districts offer a shelter  supplement  not
    26  required  by this section, such districts may utilize supplements avail-
    27  able under this section on or after October first, two thousand  twenty-
    28  one,  to transfer eligible recipients as defined in subparagraph (ii) of
    29  paragraph (b) of subdivision three of this section into the home stabil-
    30  ity support program. Provided, however, a district  shall  not  allocate
    31  one  hundred  percent  of  their shelter supplements provided under this
    32  section to existing supplement recipients, unless there is no current or
    33  unmet need for supplements as defined in subparagraph (i)  of  paragraph
    34  (b) of subdivision three of this section in such district.
    35    9. The commissioner shall issue a report on the home stability support
    36  program  to  the  governor,  the  speaker of the assembly, the temporary
    37  president of the senate, the chairs of the senate  and  assembly  social
    38  services  committees,  and  the  chairs  of  the assembly ways and means
    39  committee and the senate finance committee on or before October first of
    40  each year, starting October first, two  thousand  twenty-two,  regarding
    41  the effectiveness of the program, based on the information provided from
    42  the  local  social  services  districts.  Each  local district, upon the
    43  request of the office, shall provide the office the necessary  data  for
    44  the  completion  of  the report. Each report shall include the following
    45  information for each district:
    46    (a) the number of individuals participating in the program;
    47    (b) factors contributing to households  experiencing  housing  issues,
    48  including,   but  not  limited  to,  health  and  safety  and  budgeting
    49  constraints;
    50    (c) total funding utilized;
    51    (d) estimated avoided costs in temporary shelter; and
    52    (e) any other information or  available  data  that  the  commissioner
    53  deems relevant and necessary for comprehensive evaluation of the current
    54  need of entitlements for public assistance recipients.
    55    § 2. Section 153 of the social services law is amended by adding a new
    56  subdivision 13 to read as follows:

        S. 2375                             5
     1    13.  Notwithstanding  any  other provision of law to the contrary, one
     2  hundred percent of costs for shelter  supplements  including  costs  for
     3  heating  expenses,  and  home  stability  support  services  required by
     4  section one hundred thirty-one-bb of this article shall  be  subject  to
     5  reimbursement by the state, as follows:
     6    (a)  by  federal  funds  that can be properly applied to such expendi-
     7  tures; and
     8    (b) the remainder to be paid by state funds.
     9    § 3. This act shall take effect on April 1, 2020.