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

According to the Social Security Administration’s web site, “From the earliest colonial times, local villages and towns recognized an obligation to aid the needy when family effort and assistance provided by neighbors and friends were not sufficient.”

Life in America has evolved dramatically since colonial times and complex societal relationships have evolved between Landlords, Tenants and Local, County, State, and Federal Government. Each entity relies on the other for the peaceful coexistence of our communities.

The following are reform proposals submitted by the Landlord Association of Greater Niagara (LAGN) to the Niagara County Department of Social Services, Anthony Restaino, and the Niagara County Legislature.


These proposals are based on the following premise,

That under the TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families) structure, the federal government provides block grants to the State of New York, which Niagara County administers,

That these funds are used to operate their own programs in such ways designed to meet any of the four purposes set out in federal law, which are to:

  1. Provide assistance to needy families so that children may be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives.
  2. End the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage.
  3. Prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and establish annual numerical goals for preventing and reducing the incidence of these pregnancies; and
  4. Encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.

Landlord / Tenant Relationship

The Landlord /Tenant Relationship in it’s most simple and purest form is symbiotic. It’s a relationship built on trust. The landlord promises to provide a safe, clean dwelling, to maintain that dwelling, and to respond to the needs of his tenant. The tenant promises to pay his rent, to keep the dwelling clean and free from damage beyond normal wear and tear, and to get along with his neighbors. Each party needs the other. The tenant is important to the landlord and from the landlord’s perspective, wants the relationship to continue for as long as possible.


  1. Make mandatory the payment of Housing Vouchers directly to the Landlord.
  2. Make mandatory and a condition of move in, the inspection of any rental unit a DSS Client/Tenant selects.
  3. Institute accountability measures to reinforce behavior that will promote stability and discourage “waste”.
  4. Establish new outcome based performance metrics to modify policy to increase program success.


Continue to Proposal 1 - Direct Pay

Proposal Home Page