Schenectady County is providing housing assistance to dozens under new program

SCHENECTADY – Schenectady County will partner with Bethesda House to provide permanent housing for dozens of people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless after receiving a state grant worth more than half a million of dollars.

The Schenectady County Rent Supplement Program will be funded by a $536,305 grant from the state’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance as part of a $100 million initiative at the statewide to provide housing assistance to people who are homeless or at imminent risk of losing their homes. The county legislature will vote to accept the funding on Wednesday.

Paul Brady, county social services commissioner, said the funding will provide fair housing assistance to about 43 families for the next year, the equivalent of about $1,000 a month for a two-bedroom apartment.

“The rent supplement program is sort of for people who are currently homeless or at risk of homelessness, and it allows us to pay their rent for a period of time based on the income they have in the household,” he said. said.

Brady, at a county health, housing and human services committee meeting last week, said families with an annual income of 50% of the region’s median income – the equivalent of 40,000 $ per year for a family of four – will be eligible for the program.

He added that the county will work with Bethesda House, which has provided services to low-income and homeless populations throughout Schenectady for more than 30 years, to identify families for the program based on their length of life in housing and the annual income of each household.

“Being on public assistance, even though that would make a person eligible, is not the only criteria for the administration of this program,” Brady said.

Bethesda House officials were not available for comment on Friday.

A growing number of people have received some type of public assistance over the past year as the cost of living continues to rise due to soaring inflation, which has driven up everything from costs household energy bills, grocery bills and gas prices.

In August, a total of 2,362 people in Schenectady County received some type of temporary assistance, an increase of 514, or 28 percent, from August 2021, according to the state’s most recent data.

The number has increased every month since July 2021, when a total of 1,815 recipients were receiving temporary assistance, according to state data.

The consumer price index, or change in the cost of living, rose 8.2% between September 2021 and September 2022, according to the US Department of Labor. The index is below the peak of 9% reached in June.

Brady said the Supplemental Housing Program provides additional housing assistance over programs already in place, which typically provide between $400 and $600 per month to help cover rental costs. The hope, he said, is that the state will continue to fund the program in future years, which would allow the program to expand.

I think this has the potential to be a good seed program and hope it grows over the next few years“Brady said.

Contact journalist Chad Arnold at: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.

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Ryan H. Bowman