January, 2024 - Enterprise Community Partners today announced the expansion of Making Moves, the New York State housing mobility program that helps households with Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers move to stable, affordable homes in neighborhoods of their choice with lower poverty, higher performing schools, and other benefits. The Making Moves program will now serve families in Tompkins, Orange, and Dutchess Counties, along with its existing work in Buffalo, Westchester and Long Island.
The Making Moves program offers supportive resources to assist families through the moving process, such as counseling, financial assistance, tenant and landlord education, housing improvement funds, and pre- and post-move support services. To date, the program has helped 118 households move to higher-resourced communities and is currently working with over 140 more households in their search for housing. With its expansion to Tompkins, Dutchess, and Orange Counties, the Making Moves Program hopes to serve approximately 50 more families in the first year of its operations in those regions.
Two mobility counseling agencies, PathStone and Tompkins Community Action, will support the new regions. PathStone will serve Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, and surrounding areas (Dutchess and Orange Counties), and Tompkins Community Action will serve Tompkins County and the City of Ithaca. These agencies join three existing providers participating in Making Moves: Housing Opportunities Made Equal in Buffalo, CVR Associates in Westchester County, and Community Development Corp. of Long Island.
Many voucher holders face hurdles when trying to rent homes in lower-poverty neighborhoods, including housing costs as well as discrimination from landlords against renting to tenants paying with non-wage source of income, including vouchers (known as source-of-income discrimination). Source-of-income discrimination has been illegal in New York State since 2019 but still takes place. Routine obstacles to housing choice like these are challenging for tenants to address without help, which the Making Moves Program offers.
Launched in 2020, the New York State Housing Mobility Program was first piloted by community-based organizations and municipal partners serving tenants in Buffalo, Long Island, and New York City. The pilot demonstrated that housing mobility programs help change the trajectory of low-income families' lives for the better, with participating households reporting significant improvements in their lives and well-being, including physical and mental health and educational outcomes. Participating families reported significant improvements in physical and mental health, educational outcomes, sense of security, stress levels, and quality of sleep, to name a few.
Making Moves is currently funded by New York State Homes and Community Renewal with federal Section 8 funds. To participate, families must already have a federal Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher either through HCR or through a local Public Housing Authority. Enterprise Community Partners works with HCR to administer funds for the Making Moves program statewide, provide technical assistance to the agencies, and evaluate progress.
The Making Moves program takes a localized approach that assembles supportive resources for tenants in their specific communities to decide where they want to live, with cooperation from landlords. These resources exemplify Enterprise's "both/and" approach to housing, giving families the opportunity to move to lower-poverty and higher-opportunity neighborhoods if they choose, while simultaneously investing in economic, civil, and social institutions and organizations to increase opportunities in all communities.
"Every New Yorker deserves the opportunity to live in a safe, supportive neighborhood of their choosing," said Letitia James, New York State Attorney General. "I was proud to work with Enterprise Community Partners to support the first Making Moves program, and I'm excited to see them continue to expand across the state. I want to thank all of the community organizations and state agencies involved in this program. My office will continue to work with our partners across the state to fight housing discrimination and ensure high-quality housing opportunities for all."
"Again and again, we see that where families live, and having the ability to choose their neighborhood, matters. The choice to move to improve your family's quality of life should be one that is available to everyone," said Baaba Halm, vice president and New York market leader for Enterprise Community Partners. "We are thrilled to expand access to vital mobility assistance resources to residents of Tompkins, Dutchess, and Orange Counties and to help create a more equitable housing future for underserved communities."
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "HCR is committed to ensuring every New Yorker has the chance to live in the community and neighborhood of their choice with access to resources that help them thrive. The Making Moves program has already provided support and improved opportunities for nearly 120 families using Housing Choice Vouchers, and with the expansion the program into Tompkins, Orange, and Dutchess Counties, it has the potential to assist many more. We are proud to be part of this initiative that improves the social, emotional, and physical welfare of families, enhances educational outcomes for children, and builds stronger communities in the process. Thank you to Enterprise Community Partners for helping to make the future brighter for families across the state."
"PathStone is excited to serve individuals through the Making Moves mobility program. Housing mobility work isn't just about finding a place to live; it's about creating a foundation for a better life, a stable future, and a stronger community. We are looking forward in partnering with participants on their journey through the program." -- PathStone
"We are excited to bring Making Moves to Tompkins County. TCAction has been the local administrator of the Housing Choice Voucher Program for NYSHCR since 1980 and understands the value this program has for landlords, voucher holders, and the entire community. We look forward to working with the Ithaca Housing Authority and our community partners to bring support services to the Housing Choice Voucher Program with this new initiative. Making Moves complements our organization's mission, and the positive impacts of Making Moves will ripple out for years to come," said Danielle Harrington, Executive Director, Tompkins Community Action.
For more information on the Making Moves program, visit https://hcr.ny.gov/mobility.
About Enterprise Community Partners
Enterprise is a national nonprofit that exists to make a good home possible for the millions of families without one. We support community development organizations on the ground, aggregate and invest capital for impact, advance housing policy at every level of government, and build and manage communities ourselves. Since 1982, we have invested $64 billion and created 951,000 homes across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands all to make home and community places of pride, power and belonging. Join us at enterprisecommunity.org.