A Step Forward for #JustPay

On June 2nd, Council Member Althea Stevens (District 16) introduced legislation to establish a prevailing wage for city-contracted human service workers. Intro. 510 would help raise wages for human services workers who work on city contracts, like those at Urban Pathways. This bill would help us meet the third ask of the #JustPay campaign: “Create, fund, and incorporate a comprehensive wage and benefit schedule for government contracted human services workers comparable to the salaries made by City and State employees in the same field.”

Urban Pathways staff showed support by attending a press conference with Council Member Stevens, Council Member Lee, and Council Member Krishnan. At the press conference, our Central Housing Admission Coordinator, Nilza Phillips shared why this bill is important to her and the organization:

Getting people into housing is the most important thing we can do to end homelessness in our city, especially as concerns rise over increased evictions due to the pandemic. Yet, I am struggling to make ends meet myself with the extremely high rate of inflation we have all been impacted by. – Nilza Phillips

Thank you to the City Council for your support of #JustPay for Human Services Workers!


Senior Case Manager Charles Byrd speaking at the press conference for Rally to Make Vouchers Work.

Senior Case Manager Charles Byrd speaking at the press conference for Rally to Make Vouchers Work. Image © and courtesy of Rob Robinson.

On June 9th, Urban Pathways staff and members of our Consumer Advocacy Group joined other advocates and the Homes Can’t Wait coalition at City Hall for the Rally to Make Vouchers Work, to call on the Mayor and his administration to fix administrative problems with CityFHEPS vouchers and combat source of income discrimination.

The CityFHEPS program provides housing subsidies to people currently experiencing homelessness, and is an important tool for those who do not qualify for or desire to live in supportive housing to be able to find housing in the private market. While many people have CityFHEPS vouchers, the process for utilizing these vouchers is extremely burdensome and makes it difficult to actually find housing with them, despite an increase to the maximum rental amount passed by City Council last year. Many landlords and property managers also illegally discriminate against voucher holders, denying them apartments based on their use of the subsidy.

Urban Pathways Senior Case Manager, Charles Byrd spoke at the press conference about the challenges his clients face searching for an apartment with the CityFHEPS voucher and the challenges he faces assisting them:

Our clients are being told this voucher is supposed to connect people experiencing homelessness with housing resources and property management companies that will honor their form of rental assistance. But instead, they are being turned away with unjust and fabricated reasons!

I join the call of my colleagues and CityFHEPS voucher holders to fix the administration of this program and to fully fund the City Commission on Human Rights. We must stop handing people false hope and get everyone the safe, stable housing they deserve! – Charles Byrd