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Adams faces lawsuit over city housing voucher program changes

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Mayor Eric Adams of New York City had found himself embroiled in a legal battle following alterations to the city’s housing voucher initiative, CityFHEPS.

The lawsuit, prompted by the Adams administration’s refusal to implement recently approved changes to the program, was filed by the Legal Aid Society on behalf of four affected individuals.

Chief attorney of civil practice for the Legal Aid Society, Adriene Holder, emphasized the legal obligation of city agencies to enforce all enacted measures, citing the New York City charter. The lawsuit challenges the administration’s reluctance to adhere to amendments passed by the City Council last year, which extended eligibility to those facing eviction, among other modifications.

One of the plaintiffs, Marie Vincent, a cancer survivor residing in a shelter with her teenage grandson since May 2023, expressed frustration over her ineligibility for the housing voucher due to the city’s non-compliance. Despite working nights at a local hospital, Vincent’s income falls short of qualifying her for the program, illustrating the personal toll of the administration’s stance.

Mayor Adams defends his opposition to the expanded program, citing concerns over its financial implications and exacerbation of housing scarcity in the city. He contends that the estimated $17 billion cost of expansion, coupled with existing challenges in finding housing for voucher recipients, outweighs the benefits of broader eligibility.

In contrast, housing advocates and members of the City Council argue for the implementation of the amendments, emphasizing the potential cost savings and improved quality of life for vulnerable New Yorkers. Christine Quinn, CEO of Win, a prominent shelter provider, highlights the economic rationale behind the changes, stressing the disparity between current shelter costs and the proposed alternatives.

Democratic Councilwoman Tiffany Cabán reaffirms the commitment to upholding the amendments, asserting their significance for working-class New Yorkers and the city’s future. As the legal battle unfolds, the outcome will shape the trajectory of housing policy in New York City, with implications for thousands of residents seeking stability and security.

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