Niagara Gazette

Local News

April 10, 2013

Subsidy change pushed

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Zona said he was informed of the regulation by the Social Services commissioner in Onondaga County, where direct-to-landlord rent payments are the norm. That county did not seek special permission from the state, Zona said he was told. Since then, he learned that direct-to-landlord rent payments are also the norm in Wayne, Clinton and Schenectady counties, and in New York City, he added.

Zona and Virtuoso will propose the Niagara County Legislature mandate a direct-to-landlord rent payment policy for all local Temporary Assistance cases, "for administrative ease of the department," effective June 1.

"It's already being done in numerous counties," Zona said. "I would assume we can pass this Tuesday night."

In response to the county legislature's earlier home rule request, state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, introduced a bill in the Senate that would authorize Niagara County to mandate a direct-to-landlord rent payment policy. Last month, he said he supported the gist of the Landlords Association's argument — that rent subsidies should be spent on housing, and nothing else — but doubted whether his legislation would clear the Senate. Complaints about welfare recipients misspending rent subsidies seemed to come only from Niagara Falls-area rental property owners, no where else in the 62nd District, he said at the time.

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