Housing Policy

People with disabilities are more likely to be poor than others. Most of us who cannot work live on SSI, SSDI, or public assistance. All of these are too low to pay for market-rate housing in New York City.

Those of us who need accessible housing are in even worse shape. Much of the city’s housing stock was built long before accessibility laws were passed. New, accessible apartments are being built with government subsidies, but most of them require residents to have higher incomes than what is provided by SSI.

The only new housing that people on SSI can afford is supportive housing. Supportive housing is more independent than a nursing home, but the most independent form of housing—and the kind that most people with disabilities need—is the ordinary apartment, with no supportive housing provider involved.

The fact that people living below the poverty level are too poor for affordable housing is nothing new. The quote below is from a 2001 HUD report. The situation it describes has not improved. People on SSI, who are all elderly, disabled or blind, still have incomes below 20% of the Area Median Income (AMI).

“Renters with the lowest incomes remain much more likely to have severe housing problems than those with higher incomes. Over three-fourths (76 percent) of unassisted renters with incomes below 20 percent of AMI had the severe housing problems that qualify as worst case problems in 1999, compared to 28 percent of unassisted renters with incomes between 31 and 40 percent of AMI and only eight percent among unassisted renters with incomes between 51 and 60 percent of AMI.”*

By “unassisted renters”, the report refers to people who do not have Section 8 vouchers, public housing, supportive housing, or other government subsidies. There are long waiting lists for all forms of subsidy. While they wait, too many people with disabilities are forced to live in unsafe apartments, adult homes, nursing homes, homeless shelters, or prison. 

 * “A Report On Worst Case Housing Needs In 1999: New Opportunity Amid Continuing Challenges [Executive Summary]”, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research, January 2001.


Our 2024 Housing Legislative Agenda items include the following:

CIDNY supports establishing the minimum regulations for the design and construction of new homes to provide visitability to such homes by persons with disabilities. (A1625 Simon/S763 Krueger): CIDNY supports the creation of minimum standards for the design and construction of new homes that receive state or federal assistance to make them more accessible.

CIDNY supports establishing the New York State office of civil representation to provide access to legal services in eviction proceedings. (A1493 Joyner/S2721 May): Eviction proceedings have a profoundly disparate impact on low-income individuals and given this disparate impact, it is imperative that these individuals be provided legal 15 representation in legal proceedings that put their housing at risk. There is a fundamental human right to adequate housing accommodations. Safe, secure, and accessible housing is essential to achieving equal access to all other fundamental needs. Without housing, individuals and families too often cannot preserve family integrity, gain employment or other income, or enjoy access to healthcare, proper nutrition, and education. Eviction proceedings and displacement because of evictions have a disparate impact on low-income individuals and particularly on low-income people of color, who are disproportionately the respondents in eviction proceedings.

CIDNY supports the act to amend the real property actions and proceedings law, in relation to adjournments relating to the right to counsel. (A4993 Rosenthal L./S3254 Hoylman-Sigal): Provides that in any jurisdiction in which a party is eligible under local law for free legal counsel, if such party has in good faith attempted to secure such counsel and is unable to obtain counsel through no fault of their own, the court shall adjourn the trial of the issue for consecutive periods of not less than fourteen days each until the party is able to secure counsel.

CIDNY supports establishing the “Winter Moratorium on evictions act” to prohibit eviction of tenants from residential properties during the winter months. (A4093 Kelles/S1403 Myrie): If a tenant is to be evicted, the tenant cannot be evicted during the winter months. This bill amends the Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law to allow a moratorium to stay court eviction judgments to allow individuals to remain housed during harsh inclement winter weather months.


Allies and Partners

CIDNY works in cooperation with a number of organizations concerned with housing in New York State and New York City. We invite you to learn more about some of those who have websites:

Barrier Free Living
Coalition for the Homeless
Housing Here and Now
Tenants and Neighbors
Empire State Housing Alliance