LAGN Housing Assistance Reform Proposals for
Niagara County Department of Social Services - Direct Pay

Special Note: This proposal was adopted by the Niagara County Legislature.
This document, >>   Direct Pay Administrative Directive  << was the foundation for adoption.  

1. Make mandatory the payment of Housing Vouchers directly to the Landlord.

There is precedence here to support mandatory Housing Voucher payments to Landlords. One need only look to HUD’s Section 8 Leased Housing Program. This housing program is designed to meet the needs of low-income families in finding and maintaining safe, clean housing.

When a DSS Client/Tenant is given the option to have his/her Housing Voucher sent directly to themselves it not only violates the intent of the grant but puts money into the hands of people who have not demonstrated good judgment as evidenced by decisions or conditions that have lead them to the program in the first place.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “Research has shown that many of these families have barriers to employment that likely impeded their ability to meet the state’s expectations. These barriers include: mental and physical impairments; substance abuse; domestic violence; low literacy or skill levels; learning disabilities; having a child with a disability; and problems with housing, child care, or transportation.”

When Housing Vouchers are redirected and not used for the DSS Client/Tenant’s housing needs it is an event they can’t recover from and eviction always follows. The results of evictions are as follows,

    • 2-3 Months of lost rent to the landlord
    • Court costs and possibly attorney fees to the landlord
    • 1 Month lost rent to repairs and marketing
    • Damages to the apartment of approximately $2,000 per occurrence
    • Moving and storage fees born by the DSS
    • Short-term accommodation cost born by the DSS while Client finds a new apartment.
    • New move in expenses born by the DSS

This sequence of events plays itself out many times over and the incidence is spreading. This is not only a financially unsustainable policy it undermines the first purpose of the TANF mission statement, to provide the stability to children that can best be found in their own home or the home of a relative.

Continue to Proposal 2 - Mandatory Pre Inspection

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