Affordable Housing

State of the city: Adams announces new cabinet to protect tenants, relaunch Section 8 waiting list

  • NYCHA’s section 8 voucher waitlist will reopen for the first time in 15 years later this year
  • Adams will create a Tenant Protection Cabinet with at least 12 city agencies and offices
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By Celia Young  |
January 26, 2024 - 12:30PM
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NYCHA's Section 8 housing voucher waitlist closed in 2009.


Mayor Eric Adams announced plans to create a tenant protection cabinet and reopen a housing voucher program to new applications in his State of the City address on Wednesday.

Under those plans, the New York City Housing Authority’s Section 8 voucher waiting list would reopen for the first time in more than a decade later this year. Adams also hopes to speed the development of 24 affordable residential projects in 2024 to address the city’s housing shortage.

“We are committed to helping New Yorkers stay in their homes or find a new one if needed,” Adams said. “It is no secret that this city and this nation are facing a massive housing crisis. Sixty years of injustice and underdevelopment have brought us to the brink.”

Waiting for the waiting list

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, which subsidizes a low-income tenant’s rent, can be a lifeline for tenants struggling to make ends meet. More than 200,000 New Yorkers receive subsidies through the Section 8 program, according to NYCHA. 

But in 2009, NYCHA stopped accepting new applications to the federally-funded program as funding dried up, according to the Coalition for the Homeless. Under Adams’ plan, NYCHA would reopen that waitlist later this year with the goal of issuing 1,000 new vouchers per month. 

“The planned reopening of the waitlist for this critical rental subsidy later this year further exemplifies the administration’s and the authority’s commitment to this issue and to utilizing the housing strategies and solutions to positively impact the lives of New Yorkers,” says Michael Horgan, NYCHA’s press secretary.

The announcement comes as the number of renters on the waitlist has shrunk in the past year. There are currently only 7,000 applicants on NYCHA’s waitlist, according to a spokesperson for the agency. That’s down from the 17,576 who sat on the waitlist as of January 2023.

Those interested in applying should keep an eye on NYCHA’s website for future updates, according to the spokesperson.

A new protection group for tenants

Adams plans to create a new Tenant Protection Cabinet to better coordinate city resources for renters. The cabinet would bring together more than 12 agencies and mayoral offices to help “keep New Yorkers in their homes,” according to the Mayor’s announcement. 

It would also help tenants who had been illegally locked out of their apartment or who face landlord harassment, Politico reported. Adams also plans to expand the homeowner help desk, a city pilot program that connects homeowners with counselors and legal services to prevent deed theft.

If you’re currently facing an eviction or harassment, there are existing city resources that can help. The Tenant Protection Unit within New York State Homes and Community Renewal can investigate landlord fraud and harassment. You can contact them online or by email. 

You can also file a complaint with the NYC Housing Preservation & Development department, or call 311 to get connected with the tenant helpline.

New affordable housing development

Adams announced an ambitious plan to create or preserve more than 12,000 units of affordable housing in 2024. Those apartments will be constructed on publicly-owned land, and the mayor called on state legislators to support plans for new housing across the five boroughs.

“Governor [Kathy] Hochul was right in her State of the State address: New York City must build,” Adams said. “We need Albany to clear the way for the housing we need now. Let us build.”

Celia Young Headshot

Celia Young

Senior Writer

Celia Young is a senior writer at Brick Underground where she covers New York City residential real estate. She graduated from Brandeis University and previously covered local business at the Milwaukee Business Journal, entertainment at Madison Magazine, and commercial real estate at Commercial Observer. She currently resides in Brooklyn.

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