Congressman Charles B. Rangel on Friday praised the recent decision by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to award close to $23.5 million in funding for New York City’s Section 8 voucher program.
The allocation, part of $150 million that Congress set aside to assist housing authorities with their rental-voucher programs, helps diminish the possibility that the city would have to cut assistance for up to 10,000 currently enrolled low-income families.
“I am proud to be part of a Democratic and a Presidential Administration that understands how important it is to assure access to affordable housing,” said Rangel. “President Obama, [HUD Secretary] Shaun Donovan — they understand that in these tough financial times, we need to give municipalities and states the resources they need to provide some measure of security to neighborhoods and families.”
Rangel, chair of the New York Congressional delegation, has worked hard in the last couple of months to avoid program cuts that would strip residents of their vouchers. He said that he and his colleagues would continue to work with city and state officials to try to find ways to help bridge the New York City Housing Authority’s $45 million budget gap.
“While this infusion helps in the short term, we have to find ways to financially stabilize these programs in the long-term,” said Rangel. “I’ve always said that it’s hard to keep a job, do well in school or even stay healthy if you are constantly worried about how you are going to keep a roof over your head.”
Rangel has worked for over 40 years to try to maintain and expand affordable housing options for all New Yorkers, especially during these rough economic times. In addition to his authorship and support for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the most successful program ever to develop affordable housing, Rangel has been in the forefront of the efforts to sustain public housing and to insure sufficient Section 8 rent voucher subsidies. Over the past two years, the Congressman’s office has worked with local housing advocates to preserve over 400 apartments in Central and East Harlem and Morningside Heights alone, including helping to secure project-based Section 8 agreements at Canaan IV Towers (95 Lenox Ave), Hudsonview I (544 W. 145th Street), Hudson Piers Rehab-Phase II (1626 Amsterdam Avenue) and Morningside Apartments (109th and Columbus).
HUD recently announced that it would federalize 21 public housing developments, a move that Congressman Rangel had advocated for years. The federalization includes five developments within Upper Manhattan’s 15th Congressional District: Drew-Hamilton (2660 Frederick Douglass Boulevard) Manhattanville (545 West 126th Street), Marble Hill Houses (5210 Broadway), Samuel Houses (109 West 144th Street) and Wise Towers (117 West 90th Street). That decision, which will remove some of the annual funding uncertainties faced by the buildings by making them eligible for HUD operating and capital funding of about $65 million a year, was made possible by Rangel’s efforts to include the federalization as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.