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Adams administration ‘inflated’ costs of expanding NYC rental assistance program, report says

Mayor Eric Adams’ administration exaggerated the costs of recently passed legislation aimed at letting more people access the city’s existing rental assistance voucher program, the Independent Budget Office said in a report on Monday.

The report is the latest development in the back-and-forth between the mayor and the City Council after the latter passed several bills expanding the City Fighting Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement program over the summer.

“None of the governmental estimates fully account for the long-term economic savings and social benefits of maintaining people in safe, stable housing,” the IBO said in a press release.

The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Gothamist.

The IBO analysis claims that Adams’ administration used an “inflated per voucher cost” to come to its $17 billion project – compared to the $10.6 billion estimation from the Council. In addition to not accounting for the “long-term savings” of expanding the program, the IBO is claiming that Adams’ administration “exacerbated” certain challenges in managing the CityFHEPS program.

“These underscore how the Administration’s agency and budget management issues have put more New Yorkers at risk of eviction and homelessness,” IBO said in the release.

There is a record number of people experiencing homelessness in New York City: an estimated 89,105 were residing in the Department of Homeland Security’s shelter system as of Dec. 20, according to the Community Service Society of New York. Last year, the City Council overwhelmingly approved four bills aimed at removing “arbitrary obstacles” that stop more homeless people from accessing the CityFHEPS rental assistance program, Speaker Adrienne Adams said after the bills passed in May.

Citing potentially astronomical costs that could come with expanding CityFHEPS, the mayor vetoed the housing bills a month later – the second time he’s attempted to squash already-passed legislation in his term. The Council then overrode the mayor’s veto – setting the way for a potentially lengthy court battle in the near future. The legislation will go into effect on Tuesday.

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