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LAS Backs Proposal for Statewide Rental Assistance

The Legal Aid Society and housing advocates across New York State are backing a proposal to create stable housing for the tens of thousands across the state who are experiencing homelessness or are threatened with eviction. The Housing Access Voucher Program (HAVP) would create a state-funded analog to Section 8, a federal program that provides vouchers to some 2 million Americans to help them cover the rent.

Ellen Davidson, a staff attorney in the Civil Law Reform Unit at the Legal Aid Society, said that such a program would be a “landmark,” and noted that the federal voucher program had proven to be “one the most successful programs that has helped our homeless clients get into permanent housing.”

“We were at a moment before Covid where we had record amounts of people who were homeless in our state,” she told New York Focus. “We also have large numbers of tenants in the state who are housing insecure, are doubled up, are paying huge portions of their income toward their rent—and the state has thus far done nothing to help people in this situation,” Davidson added.