NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An Obama administration proposal aims to desegregate communities and offer disadvantaged a chance to live in better neighborhoods.
However, as CBS2’s Christine Sloan reports, New York City Democrats are opposing it.
Under the “Housing Choice Voucher Program” – also known as Section 8 – apartments in poverty-stricken neighborhoods would get less money while those in upscale ones, like the Upper West Side, would get more.
The goal is to give the poor a chance to attend better schools and live in safer neighborhoods.
“I think, for sure, there will be better access to things in a better place,” said Carson Day of the Upper West Side.
Tanaisha Gabriel, though, of the Upper West Side, does not back the plan.
“I think it’s not as good an idea. You’ll be taking from lower income and giving to higher income and everyone loses,” Gabriel said.
Many New York City Democrats, including Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, believe as well.
“The amount of the voucher is going to drop, meaning the recipient is going to have to pay more rent and that is just impossible,” Mark-Viverito said.
Mark-Viverito explained that half of the 110,000 voucher recipients in the city would get less money for their current apartments, and those choosing to go to upscale areas wouldn’t be able to afford pricey rents even under Section 8 – in a city where the vacancy rate is 3 percent.
“This has an adverse effect where people could get displaced, people could become homeless, although well-intentioned,” Mark-Viverito said.
Mark-Viverito and Schumer sent protest letters to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, that’s allowing comments until midnight.
HUD officials said this program’s worked in Dallas, but representatives here said New York isn’t Dallas.
“If you want better schools and neighborhoods, let’s invest in these schools,” said Councilman Mark Treyger, D-47th.
Sources said HUD will be carefully reviewing the comments it is getting and more than likely make revisions to the proposal.
A HUD spokesperson said it will work closely with local officials to avoid any negative impact on voucher holders.
The spokesperson also said local authorities are able to grandfather current housing so that voucher recipient amounts don’t change.