New York City’s commitment to preserving a social safety net is quietly heroic. When the federal government began slashing last March, officials with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development drained their reserves to keep building housing. They also preserved the rental vouchers that stand between tens of thousands of Lucy Delgados and homelessness.

But the protective tarp gets pulled tauter and tauter. “Some tenants face having to move to smaller apartments, and what they pay monthly on rent could go from 30 to 40 percent of their income,” the housing commissioner, RuthAnne Visnauskas, says. “It’s harsh, and a lot of people are unhappy, including us.”

Read: What Washington Gives New York – Added Strain on the Social Safety Net –