Turn up the Heat: It’s Time to Raise New York’s Shelter and Fuel Allowances illustrates how the public assistance shelter and fuel allowances are so far out of step with the actual costs of housing and heating, they are pushing many financially fragile New Yorkers out of homes and into homelessness.
Consider this: According to HUD, New York had the biggest increase in homelessness of any state between 2013 and 2014, and the NYS Education Department reports that the number of homeless children between 2009 and 2014 increased by more than a third.
Consider this: New York’s fuel allowance has not been increased in 28 years. And in Albany County, the shelter allowance for a one bedroom apartment is $309, less than 40% of the HUD Fair Market Rent for the Region.
The numbers simply don’t add up to allow for safe, stable, warm housing – essentials of life for everyone, but particularly for children. New York has a golden opportunity to help stabilize families in their homes by making modest increases in the shelter and heating allowances. These investments will help avoid the much costlier expense of emergency shelter stays and the negative impact on children’s well-being and educational attainment that is a proven result of homelessness.
“Empire Justice Center: Housing and heating allowances aren’t adequate” – Times Union, December 2, 2015
“Study: Heating, Shelter Assistance Not Enough, Leads to Homelessness” – Public News Service, January 20, 2016