Target: Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas
Goal: Stop a new amendment that would make it more difficult for low-income gay families to inherit housing rights.
Few things in life are as important as having a roof over your head, especially if you belong to the low-income class. In the tragic event of the death of a family member, knowing that property rights will securely transfer to your surviving family members is of critical importance. Yet New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development is proposing a new amendment that would alter inheritance rights for affordable housing.
For sixty years, the same laws have been used to determine who can legally inherit low-income housing in New York City. Now the Department wants to change the term ‘family member’ to ‘spouse,’ meaning only legally married partners can inherit the housing in the event of their partner’s death.
While gay families only occupy a fraction of the units in question, 34 percent of succession rights cases involve gay families. For families affected by this change, the worst case scenario could end with the surviving partner being kicked out of the housing unit. Lawmakers want to affect this change before the new city administration takes office, because they know that it will not be in favor of unfairly targeting low-income gay families.
Until November 30, public comments are being heard on this issue, which has slipped under many people’s radars. Protest the proposed amendment to the housing regulations. Do not let the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development get away with changes that might expose low-income gay families to homelessness.
Dear Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas,
Do not continue with the proposed housing amendment that will restrict the ability of gay people to transfer their affordable housing rights to their surviving partners in the event of their death. Low-income families struggle enough as it is to find affordable housing in New York City, and the death of a partner is hard enough to bear financially without being evicted from one’s residence.
For sixty years, the housing laws have been the same. Changes might need to be made, but do not do it this way. Even though gay families only occupy a small fraction of the low-income housing in question, up to 34 percent of succession rights cases involve gay families. Even though same-sex marriage is now legal in New York City, same-sex couples still face widespread discrimination in this country, and some low-income residents might not be able to get married for various reasons.
One’s marital status should not make it impossible to inherit shared affordable housing in the event of the death of a partner. Please do not make it harder on low-income gay families to secure affordable housing by narrowing the eligible beneficiaries. Reject the proposed amendment, which would unfairly make life harder for low-income gay families in New York City and increase their risk of homelessness.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: kargaltsev via Flickr