Bills Aim to Speed Up Rental Subsidy Payments

New bills sponsored by Councilman Ritchie Torres, D-Bronx, are focused on helping transition the homeless out of shelters. One part of the legislative package is intended to build landlords' trust in city programs that help formerly homeless people pay rent.

More than 20,000 households have used various voucher and subsidy programs to exit city shelters over the past three fiscal years, according to the Human Resources Administration. But shelter residents have complained about the difficulty of getting landlords to accept new rental vouchers. The bills would require the collection and publication of data on late payments and force the city to offer direct deposit of subsidy payments to landlords instead of sending checks.

Another part of the legislative package would require the city to issue a list of landlords who have pledged to accept tenants using the city’s Living in Communities, or LINC, vouchers. It’s against the law to refuse the vouchers — but many landlords have done it anyway, and people trying to get out of shelters have struggled to find apartments. Landlords would voluntarily choose to appear on the proposed list.