New York City will face a massive low-income housing disaster if Governor Pataki’s welfare reform plans become law, according to a report issued by a coalition of housing developers and bankers.
A special committee of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council estimated that the governor’s plans to slash benefits and housing assistance to welfare recipients “could displace thousands of public assistance tenants.”
The report highlights the vital link between public assistance and the rent rolls in many low-income communities throughout the city. According to the report nearly half of the $2.4 billion in welfare benefits went to pay rent. And since 3 out of five welfare recipients in the city are housed in unsubsidized private-market apartments, the loss of welfare could also bankrupt many landlords and clog housing courts with thousands of eviction cases.
“Basically we’re saying to the governor, ‘Don’t be retarded and gut the programs that are keeping communities afloat,'” said Kristen Morse, Director of Policy Research for the council.
Among the Pataki plans that CHPC opposes are, the 45 percent step-down of overall welfare benefits, elimination of the $70 million “Jiggets” allowance for rent and combining Jiggets and the public assistance shelter allowance into a single, scaled-down program.