Dozens Return to Shelters After City Halted Rent Subsidy

Dozens of families have returned to homeless shelters since the city ended a housing voucher program that was meant to help them live in their own apartments, officials said Thursday.

Homeless Commissioner Seth Diamond told City Council members at a hearing Thursday that the 85 families that had received the subsidies and are now living in shelters are only a "handful" of the 6,000 families that had been receiving vouchers.

"We remain concerned that more will come back…and that’s why we continue to do outreach to try and reach as many people as we can to see what plan can be put in place to assist them," he said.

He added the department has been sending letters to former participants, advising them of food banks and agencies where they can go to receive advice and assistance. Currently, the city said 40,400 people are staying in city shelters.

The city send out the last checks to participants in the Advantage program in January, after the state and federal governments dropped their aid. Court challenges to sustain the program failed.

Cindy Rodriguez contributed to this report.