YONKERS, N.Y. – A larger group of Yonkers residents are now eligible for financial help as they look to make ends meet.
The Yonkers City Council unanimously approved legislation last week that raises the income level required for seniors and disabled persons to qualify for rent increase exemptions.
Under the amended law, eligible tenants can now make up to $29,000 and have their rent frozen at its current rate, as opposed to the $24,000 limit that had been set in the past.
City Council member Christopher Johnson, the man who introduced the change, said the new limit recognizes the needs of those on a fixed income, noting the last time the income limit had been adjusted was nearly a decade ago.
“The time has come to re-address and meet the needs of the community,” he said. “This change more accurately reflects today’s living standards and would allow those who want to remain in Yonkers to do so.”
Supporters said the new limit will help seniors and the disabled, “two underserved constituencies,” increase their quality of life. In the past, many have been on a tight budget and had to make tough choices, they said.
Rev. Emma Lofton-Woods, a member of the Westchester Rent Guidelines Board, said that “after listening to the appeals of seniors and the disabled who have had to choose between medications, food, sharing food for pets, or housing, raising the bar will give them the opportunity to enhance their quality of life.”
Catherine Elser, director of 55Plus Yonkers Connections, agreed.
“By passing this local law seniors will have an opportunity to “age in place” and this will create greater opportunities for affordable housing,” she said.