City officials are back in the apartment-brokering business.
Thanks to federal funding increases, the city began issuing Section 8 vouchers this week for the first time in two years. The new funding will allow the city to issue about 6,200 more vouchers, which means the city is on the hunt for interested landlords, according to Lakesha Miller, executive vice president of the leased housing department at the New York City Housing Authority.
The city began calling in prospective recipients on its 104,000-person-long waitlist this week, and has issued 35 vouchers to tenants, NYCHA said.
“We just want to make sure that everyone is aware that we’re issuing vouchers so that the families can locate units,” Miller said. “If [landlords] have any questions, concerns, whatever it may be — they can reach out to us, and we will help them through that process.”
Of the total 6,200 vouchers, about 114 are slated to benefit veterans, and the city hopes to hand out 2,000 to eligible tenants by mid-July. The city hopes to issue the remaining vouchers by the end of March 2019, with some going directly to tenants and some to specific buildings, where they will benefit whoever lives in the units.
Tenants who receive the vouchers are assured that, after they pay 30 percent of their income in rent, the voucher will cover the remainder of their bill.
Vouchers are reserved for lower-income families. For instance, single people earning up to $36,500 annually and a family of four with an annual income of up to $52,150 may be eligible for the vouchers.
Landlords of residences with six or more units cannot legally discriminate against prospective tenants based on where they receive their income, whether through Section 8 vouchers, pensions, paychecks or other means.
Miller added that her team recently refined and expedited the application process.
“When we call a family in for an eligibility interview, if all the information is present, they’re receiving a voucher the same day,” Miller said. “We’re very, very excited about that because we know in New York City affordable housing is a big need.”