A group of 77 housing organizations sent a letter to Mayor Eric Adams and Budget Director Jacques Jiha calling on City Hall to exclude housing agencies from mandatory 4% budget cuts detailed earlier this month. The letter, organized by the New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH) and the New York Housing Conference (NYHC), argues that the city’s severe shortage of affordable housing and existing staffing shortages both merit exempting housing agencies from the cuts.
The proposed cuts would affect the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the Department of Buildings (DOB), the Department of City Planning (DCP), the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), and the Human Resources Administration (HRA) as the need for new and affordable housing across the five boroughs has never been greater.
The letter reads, in part: “Make no mistake: [existing cuts] are already having a material impact on New York City. In fact, it is a major reason why the Adams administration is not ‘getting stuff done’ and is producing fewer affordable units each year than its predecessor. These new budget cuts will only make this trend worse and ultimately result in a less responsive, less efficient, and less productive city.”
Nearly 600,000 households were severely rent burdened in 2021, paying more than 50 percent of their income on rent, in New York City and over 68,000 people experience homelessness. There are simply not enough units of affordable housing for the city’s most vulnerable, and the proposed cuts threaten to delay affordable development project approvals and timelines even further. The letter also points to ongoing workforce deficits at housing agencies.
Read the letter here or see the full text below.
The Honorable Eric Adams
Mayor, City of New York
Office of the Mayor, City Hall
New York, NY 10007
Director, Office of Management and Budget
255 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
Dear Mayor Adams,
We write today as a collection of housing experts, advocates, and practitioners deeply concerned about New York City’s capacity to handle the severe shortage of affordable housing considering your request for city agencies to cut 4 percent of their budget. Given our accelerating housing affordability crisis we request that agencies including the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the Department of Buildings (DOB), the Department of City Planning (DCP), the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), and the Human Resources Administration (HRA) be exempt from upcoming budget cuts.
If these agencies are not exempted, the consequences will be severe for countless New Yorkers across the five boroughs. These cuts will extend affordable housing construction timelines and project approvals, delay housing assistance and ultimately prevent New Yorkers from accessing the safe, affordable housing they deserve. This is an unacceptable outcome.
Placing the requested cuts into the proper context further illustrates these points. Ongoing staffing and resource deficits at key housing agencies have been plaguing New York City since the pandemic began, including during your administration. Despite the housing crisis, HPD has seen its city budget depleted by 6 percent in the last two years, and staffing levels at every housing-related agency are dangerously low. Consider the latest data, collected in January:
- Human Resources Administration: short 1,726 positions (14% less than budgeted)
- Housing Preservation and Development: short almost 405 positions (15% less than budgeted)
- Department of Buildings: 287 positions (16% less than budgeted)
- Department of City Planning: 67 positions (20% less than budgeted)
- Department of Homeless Services: 116 positions (6% less than budgeted)
Make no mistake, previous budget cuts and ongoing staffing shortages are already having a material impact on New York City. In fact, it is a major reason why the Adams administration is not “getting stuff done” and is producing fewer affordable units each year than its predecessor and securing housing and other necessary assistance is unnecessarily delayed. These new budget cuts will only make this trend worse and ultimately result in a less responsive, less efficient, and less productive city. We know that is not your goal.
Your ambitious and necessary goal to create 500,000 new homes in the next decade will not succeed if you proceed with this plan. After all, if we are to rely on HPD and other related agencies to solve this crisis, we must ensure they have the workforce and resources to do the work quickly and efficiently.
We would be happy to discuss these concerns with you or your staff, and we very much look forward to your support on this important issue for all New Yorkers.
All Angels’ Church
American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York
The Arker Companies
Ascendant Neighborhood Development Corporation
Asian Americans For Equality (AAFE)
Banana Kelly CIA , Inc.
Bronx Pro Group
Care For the Homeless
Center for NYC Neighborhoods
Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York
Citizens Housing and Planning Council
Coalition for Homeless Youth
Coalition for the Homeless
Community Service Society of New York
Cooper Square Committee
Curtis + Ginsberg Architects
Dunn Development Corp.
Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.
Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC)
Fifth Avenue Committee
The Fortune Society
Habitat NYC and Westchester
Health & Housing Consortium
Highbridge Community Development Corporation
Hirschen Singer & Epstein LLP
Homeless Services United
Hope Community, Inc
Housing Rights Initiative
The Hudson Companies
Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing
Interfaith Center of NY
L+M Development Partners
The Legal Aid Society
Low Income Investment Fund
Macquesten Development, LLC
MBD Community Housing Corp
Mega Contracting Group
Morningside Heights Community Coalition
Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter, Inc.
Neighborhood Restore HDFC
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
New Destiny Housing
New York Building Congress
New York Housing Conference
New York State Association for Affordable Housing
New York State Council of Churches
Omni New York LLC
Rockabill Consulting LLC
Shams DaBaron “Da Homeless Hero”
Selfhelp Community Services
Settlement Housing Fund, Inc.
The Society Solution Inc.
South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBro)
St. Nicks Alliance
Supportive Housing Network of NY
University Neighborhood Housing Program
VIP Community Services
Win (Women in Need, Inc)