Brendan Cheney testified before the City Council Finance Committee today on the FY 2023 Executive Budget, repeating the call for $4 billion for housing capital per year. We thanked the City Council for their strong and continuing support of the investment.
The $4 billion per year investment for housing is fiscally responsible. The city is well under the benchmark of debt service being no more than 15 percent of total taxes. By our calculation, it would rise to no more than 14 percent with the added housing spending.
Eric Adams supported this recommendation during the campaign, calling it a smart ask. But he has yet to deliver on that promise. His proposed increase of $5 billion for housing capital over ten years – roughly $500 million more per year – is insufficient to meet the crisis.
For HPD, the new funding will mostly cover rising interest rates and construction costs. For NYHCA, the added funding goes to PACT projects and Wyckoff and Gowanus Houses, as agreed to in the Gowanus rezoning. It will not assist any of the 110,000 units not slated for PACT.
We also continued to raise concerns about HPD staffing vacancies. While acknowledging that HPD leadership is focusing on the issue and taking positive steps, there are other steps the city can take, which we outlined in our policy brief on the causes and recommendations of the staffing crisis, including increase staff pay and workplace flexibility, decrease bureaucratic oversight, and find flexibility within and outside the civil service system.
Finally, he pointed the City Council to the New York City Housing Tracker, which showed housing stats by City Council district and found that all districts and neighborhoods need to build more affordable housing, but some districts are not doing their fair share and must support more affordable housing.
You can read the full testimony here.