City Announces 20,000 Enrollees in NYC Rent Freeze Program

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Department of Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha, and Housing, Preservation & Development Commissioner Vicki Been recently announced that the city has enrolled 20,000 seniors and people with disabilities in the NYC Rent Freeze Program since expanding access in June 2014. The program, which includes the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program and the Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) program, helps those eligible stay in housing by freezing their rent.

In July 2014, with support from the de Blasio Administration, the New York State Legislature increased the income ceiling for rent freeze programs from $29,000 to $50,000, to help ensure that vulnerable individuals remain in their homes. Since then, the city has enrolled over 20,000 people. In an effort to reach the remaining 77,000 potentially eligible individuals and assist with yearly re-enrollment, the Department of Finance, the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, and the Public Engagement Unit will work in coordination to host “Day of Action” events that involve door knocking and handing out pamphlets in targeted neighborhoods, and will hold subsequent enrollment events. HPD will continue its outreach efforts to Mitchell-Lama developments. The city has identified the following top five under-enrolled and potentially eligible neighborhoods and will be focusing its efforts accordingly:

  • Stuyvesant Town/Turtle Bay
  • Coney Island/Brighton Beach
  • Kingsbridge/Mosholu Heights
  • Upper West Side
  • Upper East Side

According to the New York City Department of City Planning, the population of senior citizens in New York City will increase by 40 percent to more than 1.4 million people between now and 2040. These benefits provide tax credits to landlords that effectively freeze rent for low-income New Yorkers living in rent-regulated apartments. Both benefits require a total household income under $50,000 and that more than one-third of one’s monthly income be spent on rent. To be eligible for SCRIE, tenants must be 62 years or older and live in a rent-regulated or Mitchell-Lama apartment; DRIE requires that tenants are 18 years or older, live in rent-regulated, Mitchell-Lama, Limited Dividend, HDFC, or Section 213 cooperative and receive SSI, SSDI, VA Disability Compensation, VA Compensation, or Disability-related Medicaid.