City Eliminates Credit Checks for Section 8 Housing Voucher Applicants, Aims to Expedite Affordable Housing Access

New York City, NY – October 11, 2023
New York City has eliminated credit checks for Section 8 housing voucher applicants, thanks to Mayor Eric Adams’ “Housing Our Neighbors” plan. This groundbreaking initiative simplifies the process for those seeking permanent, affordable housing under Section 8, offering prospective tenants much-needed relief.
Under the new policy, renters applying for apartments using Housing Choice Vouchers (commonly known as Section 8) or CityFHEPS (City Fighting Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement) will no longer face the arduous wait associated with credit checks. This move is a significant step towards providing more New Yorkers with quicker access to permanent affordable homes through Section 8.
Mayor Adams is determined to tackle the city’s affordable housing crisis by eliminating credit checks for Section 8 housing applicants. He believes that once people secure affordable homes through Section 8, the city should expedite the process by removing the credit check requirement, emphasizing swift access to housing.
Traditionally, landlords used credit scores as an initial screening tool to assess a tenant’s ability to pay monthly rent consistently under Section 8. However, Emily Osgood, the associate commissioner of housing opportunity and placement services, explained that credit checks were often an unnecessary hurdle for Section 8 voucher recipients. She emphasized that for these Section 8 tenants, the rental subsidy provided assurance of their ability to meet their financial obligations, making credit checks redundant.
The elimination of credit checks for Section 8 New Yorkers with housing vouchers is expected to expedite the rental screening process, reducing delays that could stretch for days or even weeks. “Credit checks create a massive and unnecessary obstacle, disproportionately harming low-income New Yorkers,” said Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. “Eliminating credit checks for Section 8 voucher holders is an important step towards providing fair and efficient housing to New York City’s most vulnerable residents.”
Private developers also support the removal of credit check barriers for Section 8 housing applicants, as it will help them fill units and provide affordable housing efficiently under Section 8. “We all want them to move into that apartment as quickly and smoothly as possible under Section 8,” Osgood stated. “The affordable housing owners and private owners are also very committed to making that process as quick as possible, removing unnecessary steps, and ensuring a fair process for Section 8 applicants.”
This progressive move by the city of New York is expected to help more than 4,000 families access affordable housing swiftly through Section 8, thereby promoting a more supportive and stable environment for its residents. It represents a significant stride towards housing equity, recognizing that a credit score should not be a barrier to securing a safe and affordable place to call home under Section 8.
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