OSWEGO, NY – The city of Oswego Community Development Office has administered a Section 8 Rental Assistance Program for Oswego’s low income renters since 1976.
In 2013, the Congress implemented “sequestration cuts” that impacted rental assistance programs across the county, cutting more than 70,000 rental vouchers for families nationwide and exacerbating homelessness in America.
In the city of Oswego, the Community Development Office was able to sustain 467 of its 483 housing vouchers in 2013, but this means that 16 families were not able to get rental assistance due to sequestration cuts to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Typically, low-income elderly, disabled and families with children pay more than 50% of their monthly income to pay monthly rent, unless they receive some form of rental assistance.
Who Do Housing Choice Vouchers Help?
224,568 low-income households used Housing Choice Vouchers in New York State to afford decent, privately owned housing in safer neighborhoods in December 2012.
In the city of Oswego, the Housing Choice Voucher Program assists 191 Disabled, 65 elderly, 157 working families, and 55 families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
Additionally, St. Luke’s Apartments and the Pontiac Apartments receive Section 8 Rental Assistance funding to support low-income renters.
Simeon Dewitt Apartments and Hamilton Homes also provide rental assistance for some apartments.
There is an urban legend in Oswego that the Oswego Community Development Office brings people from New York City and New Jersey to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Program. This is utterly wrong and no one should believe these false stories, according to the community development director.
Of the 467 households receiving Rental Assistance in the city of Oswego, 408 households lived in the city of Oswego for at least one year before they applied for the program; 34 households lived in Oswego County before application, and before 2005 four households lived outside Oswego County and moved here before the admission policy changed to provide preferred admission for local residents.
In addition, the City’s Housing Choice Voucher Program is required by law to accept households that “port in” to the city of Oswego because they prefer to live here.
Of the “port in” families, 17 are originally from Oswego County towns and four from other jurisdictions.
The city of Oswego continues to accept applications for the Housing Choice Voucher program.
Families who need rental assistance may apply at the Community Development Office at 20 W. Oneida St., third floor or call 315 343 3452; information about the program and the application are also available on line at http://www.oswegony.org/DEPT_rap.html
Sequestration Sharply Cut Housing Choice Voucher Assistance in 2013
6,876 fewer households were using Housing Choice Vouchers at the end of 2013 in New York State, compared to a year earlier, due to the sequestration cuts implemented in March.
70,000 fewer households nationally were using vouchers.
100 of the 138 agencies administering housing vouchers in New York reduced the number of households they served as a result of sequestration.
Congress increased HCV funding in 2014, but agencies will be able only to restore less than half of the housing vouchers lost due to sequestration.
Housing Costs Strain Family Budgets
530,245 poor households in New York pay more than half their monthly income for housing costs.
This is an increase of 73,515 households, or 16.1 percent, since 2007, the beginning of the Great Recession.
In New York, many households struggle to make ends meet. 7.6% of the labor force was unemployed in 2013.
15.9% of the population lives below the poverty line and 23% of children live below the poverty line.
13.2% of households struggle to afford a nutritionally adequate diet.
On a single night in New York State in 2013, 77,430 people were homeless, including 27,251 children and 4,659 veterans.
Rigorous studies show that Housing Choice Vouchers are very effective at making housing affordable and reducing homelessness and instability.
Ultimately, Housing Choice Vouchers, improve families quality of life and reduce crime in neighborhoods.
Housing Choice Vouchers Benefit the Community
Private owners of rental properties in New York State received $2,172,560,133 in HCV assistance payments in 2013.
This helped owners to pay property taxes and prevent blight by maintaining their properties in good condition, in addition to helping low-income families to afford housing.
In addition to improving the lives of vulnerable low-income people, vouchers can produce savings in healthcare, child welfare, corrections, and other program areas that offset part (in some circumstances all) of the cost of the rental assistance.
For more information on the Housing Choice Voucher program, including New York-specific information, please see:
Sources and methods: http://www.cbpp.org/files/3-6-14hous-sources.pdf
Policy Basics on Housing Choice Vouchers: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=279
Paper on Benefits of Housing Vouchers: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=4098
Local Data on Housing Choice Voucher Cuts Due to Sequestration: http://www.houserscorner.org/