In a blow to as many as 16,000 formerly homeless people, a state judge ruled Tuesday that the Bloomberg administration has the legal right to end a rent subsidy program after state and federal budget cuts left the city as its lone funder.
The decision on the Work Advantage Program was “bad news, but the legal fight is still not over,” says Coalition for the Homeless senior policy analyst Patrick Markee.
The Work Advantage Program helped formerly homeless people rent apartments by providing up to two years of subsidies. In this year’s state budget, Albany withdrew its one-third share of the $200 million annual funding for the program, a move that also eliminated federal support for it. The Bloomberg administration then stopped adding new renters to the program and planned to stop payments for people already participating. Advocates went to court to block the move, and a judge ordered payments to continue while the case played out.
But in Tuesday’s decision Judge Judith Gische ruled that the city’s program was a social benefit that can be withdrawn at the city’s discretion, not a binding contract between the administration and the renters it has supported.
Read the decision below, or here.