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Expanded Rent Freeze for Vets, NYers with Disabilities Gets Nod

PHOTO: Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh supports a measure to expand the Disability Rent Increase Exemption program. The State Assembly passed it unanimously on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Kavanagh.
PHOTO: Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh supports a measure to expand the Disability Rent Increase Exemption program. The State Assembly passed it unanimously on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Kavanagh.
June 20, 2014

NEW YORK - A program that prevents homelessness for local veterans and New Yorkers with disabilities has moved a step closer to reaching more people in need.

People with disabilities too often are priced out of their homes, said Susan Dooha, executive director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled New York. She said Thursday's action by the Assembly should mean more people in this group can continue to live independently, instead of being forced into nursing homes.

"People with disabilities in cities and towns around the state are about to get a major helping hand, an expansion of the Disability Rent Increase Exemption program," she said.

The Assembly voted unanimously to expand the program, which provides tax breaks for landlords so they can afford to freeze the cost of rent for New Yorkers and veterans with disabilities.

Dooha said the program has been a big success, allowing rent increase exemptions for about 11,000 New York residents, but she added that many more need help.

"The cost to taxpayers is extremely modest," she said. "But now at least 1,000 more households - people with disabilities, including veterans with disabilities - are going to be able to get help with their housing. They're going to be able to afford to stay in their homes."

Dooha said chances for final passage in the state Senate look good.

"Sen. Diane Savino from Staten Island and Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh have really been leading the charge to help ensure that people with disabilities can continue to afford their housing," she said.

Text of the measure, Assembly 09744, and a link to its Senate counterpart, S 07640, are online at assembly.state.ny.us.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY