The city announces that Section 8 tenants using rental assistance vouchers no longer need credit checks for affordable housing eligibility.

On October 5, 2023, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, in collaboration with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the Housing Development Corporation (HDC), announced a significant change in affordable housing policy. They stated that individuals utilizing housing vouchers, including those benefiting from Section 8 assistance, would no longer be subjected to credit checks during the affordable housing selection process. This alteration ensures that renters with rental assistance vouchers, including Section 8, will have their rent secured through a subsidy or connection to affordable housing, irrespective of their credit score, alleviating an unnecessary burden on applicants.

This decision is a key component of Mayor Adams’ ‘Housing our Neighbors’ initiative, designed to streamline the process of placing New Yorkers in affordable housing, including Section 8 housing. The elimination of credit checks in the application process for Section 8 and CityFHEPS housing via Housing Connect benefits a broad spectrum of New Yorkers, encompassing those in need of rental subsidies and individuals escaping homelessness. Importantly, this policy change ensures that applicants’ credit scores will not be impacted.

The prohibition of credit checks is outlined in the HPD-HDC Marketing Handbook. This amendment prevents marketing agents from conducting credit checks, using credit score information, or requiring rental history in place of a credit check to determine voucher eligibility, including Section 8 vouchers. This change aims to prevent the dismissal of applicants based solely on credit-related issues, such as bankruptcy, delinquencies, collections, money judgments, or liens. The aim is to assist individuals in greater need of affordable housing, particularly those with low credit scores and those experiencing financial challenges, in accessing housing more swiftly and with reduced bias.

Mayor Adams emphasized that the city should do everything possible to expedite the affordable housing process, including Section 8 housing, and this change will enable more than 4,000 New York families to secure housing faster and build a more supported life.

Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom noted that individuals and families with housing vouchers, including Section 8, should have a smooth process for securing new homes. Eliminating credit checks for voucher holders, including Section 8 recipients, will reduce bureaucracy and allow them to transition more swiftly into stable housing, aligning with the administration’s goal of providing permanent homes for every New Yorker.

New York State Assemblymember Tony Simone expressed that one of the challenges in navigating affordable housing programs in New York has been long wait times and red tape, including for Section 8 applicants. Removing the unnecessary credit check requirement will make the housing application process more accessible, reduce wait times, and ensure that people gain the housing they urgently need, including Section 8 recipients.

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