Legal Aid Society


LAS Sues to Enforce Housing Voucher Reform, Expansion

The Legal Aid Society has filed a class action lawsuit against Mayor Adams and the City to compel the Administration to fully implement recently enacted laws that reform and expand the City Fighting Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement (CityFHEPS) program, a local housing voucher for New Yorkers on the brink of or experiencing homelessness.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of New Yorkers who are eligible for CityFHEPS under the new laws but are barred from accessing the rent subsidy because the Adams Administration has refused to implement the reforms.

One of the clients in the suit is Mary Cronneit, who is 86 years old and has lived in her rent-stabilized home for over 22 years. Mrs. Cronneit’s husband passed away during the COVID-19 outbreak, and as a result, she lost her previous rent subsidy. Ms. Cronneit does not have any income. Her family members assist her in various ways but are unable to pay the monthly rent. In 2021, Ms. Cronneit’s landlord began an eviction proceeding. Ms. Cronneit does not qualify for CityFHEPS given the City’s narrow criteria, and will be evicted and enter the homeless system. Her family does not have room to house her.

“The Adams Administration’s refusal to implement the law is unacceptable, and the City must take immediate action to ensure that the thousands of New Yorkers who are experiencing or are on the brink of homelessness and who are now eligible for CityFHEPS can secure safe, long-term and affordable housing,” said Robert Desir, an attorney with the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “We look forward to fighting on behalf of our clients and all New Yorkers who are facing housing instability and could benefit from these laws.”

The litigation is a result of a months-long dispute between the City Council and the Adams Administration that began after the Council passed the legislative package, which the Mayor then vetoed. The City Council overrode the Mayor’s veto of the legislation, and the measures should have taken effect on January 9, 2024. The New York City Charter requires City agencies to enforce and implement all measures enacted into law, including those enacted via a Council override.