Mayor Eric Adams is now facing a lawsuit related to the city’s housing voucher program, known as CityFHEPS.

“The law is clear and the New York City charter requires city agencies to enforce and implement all measures enacted into law,” Adriene Holder, chief attorney of civil practice for the Legal Aid Society.  

What You Need To Know

  • The Legal Aid Society has filed a class action lawsuit against the Adams administration on Wednesday to force them to implement changes to the CityFHEPS program

  • CityFHEPS is the city's subsidized housing program that helps homeless New Yorkers

  • The program was expanded last year to include those facing eviction and increased income eligibility, among other changes

  • The changes went into effect in January and the city has yet to implement them citing billions in cost and an increase in competition for housing

Last year, the program, which assists homeless New Yorkers, was expanded by the City Council to also include those facing eviction.

The mayor had tried to block the changes with a veto but that was overridden.

The changes went into effect last month, but the Adams administration has refused to implement them.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of four New Yorkers who allege they would be eligible for the housing voucher if not for the city’s refusal to carry out the changes.

“No more sleepless nights in shelters, no more trips back and forth to housing court, and no more harassing calls from landlords and management companies demanding, threatening eviction,” said Holder.

One plaintiff is Marie Vincent, a cancer survivor, living with her teenage grandson in a shelter. Vincent and her grandson have been in the shelter system since May 2023.

One of the additional changes to the program included increasing income eligibility for the voucher.

“I work nights doing housing keeping at a local hospital, but because my income for CityFHEPS, I do not qualify for the voucher. But I would be qualified if Mayor Adams would follow the law,” she said.

Vincent said she even attempted to reduce her hours at her job to become eligible for the program, but that just complicated her situation. The grandmother just wants to give her grandson a stable home.

“My grandson, I’ve been promising him that we wouldn’t be in this situation for much longer. I told him we would be out by October. It is now almost his thirteenth birthday and we’re still in this current situation,” said Vincent.

However, the mayor contends the expansion is too costly and increases competition for limited housing in the city.

“Not only are we dealing with a cost factor, but we have a shortage of housing. So, you aggravate the problem when you’re now going to give thousands of more people vouchers to compete with those who will have vouchers in their hands,” said Adams at his weekly press briefing on Tuesday.

In a statement Wednesday, Adam’s press secretary Kayla Mamelak said the price tag for expansion is around $17 billion and that more than 10,000 New Yorkers have a voucher but can’t find housing.

But housing advocates and the City Council disagree.

“The city gets paid $180 dollars a night, if this bill was implemented, if the law was implemented, it would cost $72 a night,” said Christine Quinn, CEO and president of Win, one of the city’s largest providers of shelters for homeless families, about the current cost for a family in shelter for a night.

“We will not budge. We are ready to put everything into this fight because the lives of working class New Yorkers depend on it and the future of our city depends on it,” said Democrat Councilwoman Tiffany Cabán.