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Adams vetoes housing voucher expansion plan

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(The Center Square) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams has vetoed a package of bills to expand the city’s housing voucher program, claiming the move would have saddled taxpayers with billions of dollars in costs.

The package of bills, approved by the City Council on Thursday, included changes aimed at making it easier for New Yorkers facing eviction to get housing vouchers, prohibiting landlords from deducting the cost of utility bills from vouchers and increasing the maximum income level to qualify for emergency housing.

But Adams vetoed the plan, saying the proposals would have made it harder for New Yorkers dealing with homelessness to find and afford a permanent place to live – while costing the city’s taxpayers billions of dollars.

“Instead of tackling decades of exclusionary zoning policies that have prevented our city from building an adequate housing supply — which has left nearly 20,000 current voucher holders unable to find housing — these bills would remove the city’s ability to target limited resources for those most in need,” he said.

“They would even give some New Yorkers access to a housing voucher just because they received a rent demand letter from their landlord after being a few weeks late on their payment,” he added.

In response, the City Council issued a statement pledging to override Adam’s vetoes, calling the move a “harmful act of useless political theater that delays solutions to homelessness and fuels a worsening eviction crisis.”

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said the mayor’s efforts to transition people from homeless shelters to permanent housing and prevent increasing numbers of evictions have been “inadequate,” which has put a strain on the city’s shelter capacity.

“The mayor is only hurting the city by delaying solutions and contributing to the eviction crisis that leads more New Yorkers to lose their homes, become homeless, and join the already-high shelter population,” she said.

Speaker Adams said the council is prepared to override the mayor’s veto to “confront the rapidly deteriorating eviction and homelessness crises made worse by this administration’s budget cuts and failure to enact solutions.”

The vetoed package also included a provision ending a New York City policy that requires people to stay in a shelter for 90 days before becoming eligible for a housing voucher. However, Adams had already agreed to end that policy.

Adams estimates the city will spend more than $4 billion over the next two years to provide housing, food and other assistance to the new arrivals.

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