Legal Aid Society


LAS Secures Settlement Ensuring Access to Critical Rental Vouchers

The Legal Aid Society ​and ​Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP secured a landmark settlement in Toliver v. City of New York, litigation that challenged the illegal termination of eligible low-income New Yorkers’ rental vouchers under the Family Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement (FHEPS) and the City Fighting Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement (CityFHEPS) programs.

FHEPS and CityFHEPS are critical rent supplements for families with children who are experiencing homelessness or are facing eviction, including those who have lost their housing or ability to pay for housing due to domestic violence, or because of health or safety issues. The subsidies were developed to prevent at-risk families, and particularly minor children, from entering the shelter system and to enable them to more rapidly exit shelter.

The settlement with New York City Department of Social Services – the City agency responsible for the administration of the City-funded CityFHEPS rent supplement program and the State-funded FHEPS vouchers – will establish a FHEPS Review Unit to review cases where FHEPS terminations occurred, and new procedures and protocols to prevent erroneous terminations and simplify modifications of the rental subsidies. DSS will be required to restore rental vouchers to all recipients whose benefits were previously illegally terminated.

The settlement also requires DSS to provide monthly reports with compliance data; post instructions and FAQs on their online portal and in-person processing centers on how to request a renewal or modification for open cases; and implement a directive that will establish new procedures for processing FHEPS applications, restorations, and modifications; and develop new training materials for all NYC HRA staff.

Additionally, CityFHEPS renewals for certain eligible recipients will be automatically renewed. DSS will also complete a one-time mailing to certain eligible households that failed to complete a renewal in 2021, 2022 or 2023 with instructions on how to submit a renewal and will process those renewals within 90 days of receipt.

“Thousands of families across the City rely on FHEPS and CityFHEPS to keep their families stably housed, and this settlement will ensure that all eligible families continue to receive these critical rental vouchers so they can remain safe from the risk of eviction and homelessness,” said Emily Lundgren, and attorney with the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “We look forward to working with the City to safeguard the rights of our clients and all New Yorkers who qualify for rental assistance to have consistent access to these life-sustaining programs.”