New York City Council removes public housing work requirements

The New York City Council on July 13, 2023, voted to override New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ (D) veto of council legislation that removes all work requirements for public housing vouchers.

The council on May 25, 2023, signed a veto-proof package of bills seeking to remove all work requirements for housing vouchers, among other changes to the voucher program. Council members argued in part that the bills would help keep families in their homes and relieve pressure on the city’s shelter system. “There are also the educational, health, justice system, and other costs that are created when people become, and remain homeless,” contended Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (D).

After signing an emergency rule in early June requiring certain public housing recipients to work at least ten hours a week, Mayor Adams vetoed the council legislation on June 23, 2023, arguing that the action would be too costly, would increase competition for limited housing vouchers, and exceeded the council’s authority since the state Department of Social Services—rather than the council—administers the voucher program. Mayor Adams argued in a statement that the legislation would “put New Yorkers in shelter at the back of the line for a CityFHEPS voucher and make it harder for them to find permanent housing.”

The council’s veto override negated Adams’ work requirements rule.

The Adams administration as of July 13 had not indicated how it planned to respond to the veto override, though it “has suggested that the state government has some authority over the matter, and could pursue legal action,” according to ABC 7 New York.

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