Discrimination is the unequal treatment of people or things based on different categorizations. The New York City's Human Rights Law protects individuals from discrimination in areas including race, religion, gender, disability etc...
The law covers additional protected classes for housing, including lawful source of income, which covers any federal, state, or local public or housing assistance. If a landlord owns a building with 6 or more units, they are required to accept all of the lawful sources of income listed below:
This means it is illegal in New York City for a landlord or a broker to deny an individual housing based on the way they plan on paying their rent. Despite this legal protection, people with programs face relentless discrimination in the city's housing market.
Source of Income Discrimination sounds different depending on the situation, and sometimes is extremely subtle, which makes it difficult to track and report.
Landlords and brokers, who have faced little retaliation from the law in the past, continue to shamelessly keep New Yorkers with vouchers and public assistance out of stable housing, and have helped reinforce a negative stigma around vouchers and voucher holders.
Have you been housing, or told "no" because of your rental assistance voucher? If so, do not ignore it! The law is on your side, and you can get help immediately. If you are discriminated against because of your source of income, even if you are uncertain about it, report your case here. The city is aggressively pursuing landlords and brokers who are breaking the Human Rights Law, and they want to help.
Reporting can also get you immediate assistance, and creates the possibility of obtaining the housing you have been denied. Most importantly, reporting helps enforce the city's law that protects voucher holders from discrimination. Without reporting, landlords and brokers can continue to turn away voucher holders without consequences.
Section 8, also known as Housing Choice Vouchers, are federally funded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and distributed by New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Recipients of Section 8 pay approximately 30% of their income after adjustments on rent, and the voucher covers the rest, to an extent. As of December 10, 2009, NYCHA put a freeze on new applications for Section 8 due to an excessive waiting list, however if you received a Section 8 voucher before that date, it remains eligible.
HUD-VASH is a federally funded program that collaborates between the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veteran Affairs. HUD-VASH vouchers are distributed tohomeless veterans, with a specific emphasis on chronically homeless veterans. As of 2008, beneficiaries are no longer required to have chronic mental illness or chronic substance abuse disorders.
HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) vouchers assist individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS. On top of ongoing case management, HASA recipients who qualify receive Cash Assistance that they can put towards either supportive housing or a private apartment on the market. HASA recipients must pay 30% of their adjusted income on rent, and the voucher covers the remaining fee, to an extent. HASA is a city funded voucher, although applicants must meet state eligibility for Cash Assistance.
Special Exit and Prevention Supplement Program (SEPS) are vouchers for individual adults and adult families (no children) who are at risk of homelessness or are already in the shelter system. Applicants must be on public assistance. 30% of the household's income (if applicable) will go towards rent, and the remaining amount is covered by the voucher, to an extent. Vouchers are funded through the city and administered by Human Resource Administration (HRA).
Living in Communities Rental Assistance Program (LINC) is a city funded voucher that assists families transitioning out of the shelter system into permanent housing. LINC vouchers that are in use need to be renewed every 5 years, and those not in use every 90 days. There are 6 LINC categories: I. Families; with working history II. Vulnerable populations that need additional support III. Families affected by domestic violence IV. Elderly and disabled V. Families and individuals in the shelter system working full time VI. Families with children to reunify with host families.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) are federal programs that provide cash payments to individuals who meet the requirements. SSI recipients may or may not have worked in the past, and meet the guidelines set by the Social Security Administration regarding their disability. SSDI is available for workers who become disabled , and enables those who qualify to obtain social security benefits early.
Family Eviction Prevention Supplement (FEPS) is a state funded program that helps families that face eviction. The FEPS voucher supplements the often insufficient "Shelter Allowance" distributed by the Human Resource Administration (HRA).
The City Family Exit Plan Supplement, (CityFEPS) includes families with at least 1 child and those in shelters. The voucher can subsidize the family's entire rent if there is no source of income. You can apply for CityFEPS through DHS or a HomeBase Office.
If you have income that is not listed here or have questions about other possible sources, contact us. We will help you understand your rights and take action.