Mayor Eric Adams released his housing plan this week, which included in one plan NYCHA, homelessness, affordable housing production, health and safety, and reducing administrative burdens. This is a welcome departure from the City’s previously siloed approach to housing policy.
We are grateful that this blueprint incorporates nearly ¾ of the recommendations advanced by the United for Housing coalition, and we look forward to working with the administration on its implementation with the goal of expediting the creation and preservation of safe, decent, and affordable housing for all New Yorkers. Below we’ll share some details and thoughts on the plan, which you can find here.
The plan leads with recommendations for NYCHA and really sets a path for revitalizing the portfolio while expanding resident decision-making. Including NYCHA in the plan, much less leading with it, is a huge departure and shows strong support from City Hall for reorganizing operations and advancing a capital investment plan with the Public Housing Trust and executing the remainder of PACT.
Next, the plan focuses on homelessness and housing instability, with the message that homelessness is a housing problem. There are many strong strategies and goals, including increasing financial assistance for people at-risk of homelessness, expanding services at shelters, and working with the state to end the prison to shelter pipeline. In addition, the Mayor announced that they will count all people in city shelters in the data on city homelessness. Past administrations only counted people in DHS shelters. This is a great step that increases transparency by fully acknowledging the extent of the problem, which is important for allocating resources for everyone in need.
The third section looks at creating and preserving affordable housing. There are strong recommendations in this section, but we have questions about how they interact with the budget and how it will be measured. We expect that existing programs will have to be revamped. And while we applaud the administration for moving away from a big unit target, we hope they will have a commitment on deeper affordability like the one in the United for Housing report which called for 8,000 units of housing per year for people experiencing homelessness or with extremely low income. And while we applaud that there will be new homeownership opportunities, we want to understand how that fits into the budget and HPD priorities.
The fourth section looks at ways to improve the health and safety of New Yorkers through housing. There are a lot of good strategies in here, including ways to improve code enforcement and reducing lead paint and asthma triggers exposure. Once again, we want to see more about the resources behind the strategies in this section.
Finally, the plan looks to reduce administrative burdens. While this may not be the section that grabs headlines, it will make the city more efficient and improve people’s lives. They will look to end duplicative work and remove unnecessary and problematic paperwork. For example, moving income verification at HPD to an audit function is really smart and will allow people to move into housing faster while freeing up staff time at the agency, which is especially important now while HPD is facing staffing shortages. There are a lot of good strategies in the report and we appreciate the administration’s efforts to listen to experts, advocates and especially NYCHA residents and people that have experienced homelessness. Now that they have a plan, the work ahead is implementing the plan and matching it to the resources available.