Mayor Eric Adams has called on most city agencies including the Department of Housing Preservation to make 3 percent cuts to their budget in 2022, 2023 and future years. This decision is short-sighted and will ultimately exacerbate a housing emergency that is impacting millions of New Yorkers. We are calling on Mayor Adams to exempt HPD from the 3 percent budget cut and to allow them to continue backfilling vacancies.
Several agencies are exempt from the cut, including the Department of Corrections, Health + Hospitals, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, due to the “unique challenges” facing those agencies. New York’s long-standing housing crisis fits the same bill.
HPD is already short-staffed; total agency staffing is down 5 percent from before the pandemic, while the office of development, which manages affordable housing production, is down 13 percent. Reducing staff and resources at HPD will only lengthen approval time, delay projects, and decrease housing production, preventing your constituents from accessing the affordable and supportive housing that they desperately need.
We are looking for organizations to sign-on to a letter opposing the cuts to HPD’s budget and staffing. You can see the full letter below. The deadline to add your organization is Wednesday, January 19, 2022, and you can do so by adding your name and organization in the fields below. Please note: This is an ORGANIZATIONAL sign-on letter.
Dear Mayor Adams,
When you promised to increase city capital spending to $4 billion a year on housing, you sent New Yorkers a loud and clear signal that you understood the magnitude of a worsening crisis – and that you were going to do something about it. That promise, coupled with a consistent campaign theme to increase operational efficiency, prompted hope in the housing community that much-needed affordable and supportive housing would not be plagued by the familiar bureaucratic issues and would come online faster.
We are dismayed to hear that the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is subject to your directive to reduce city-funded expenses by 3 percent in FY 2022, 2023, and in out-years thereafter. This decision is short-sighted and will ultimately exacerbate a housing emergency that is impacting millions of your constituents. We call on you to exempt HPD from the 3 percent budget cut.
You have exempted other agencies, including the Department of Corrections, Health + Hospitals, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, citing the “unique challenges” facing those agencies. New York’s long-standing housing crisis fits the same bill.
Your directive also calls on agencies to right-size their budgeted headcount by reducing vacancies, which will especially harm HPD and housing production. HPD is already short-staffed; total agency staffing is down 5 percent from before the pandemic, while the office of development, which manages affordable housing production, is down 13 percent. Reducing staff and resources at HPD will only lengthen approval time, delay projects, and decrease housing production, preventing your constituents from accessing the affordable and supportive housing that they desperately need. We ask that HPD be allowed to continue backfilling vacancies and that OMB aids the agency in expediting new hires.
It is worth reiterating the scale of the crisis we now face. Even before the pandemic, nearly half of all New York City renters were rent burdened, and one-in-four rental households are compelled to spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing. This crisis has accelerated during COVID, with New York City renters significantly behind on rent and tens of thousands at imminent risk of eviction once the state’s moratorium expires this weekend. This does not even factor in a $40 billion backlog at the New York City Housing Authority, nor does it factor in the fact that nearly 50,000 of your constituents spend each night homeless.
New Yorkers across the five boroughs are fed up with rising housing costs and insufficient city response. You have an opportunity to set the tone for your entire administration – and by living up to your campaign promises, you can address this crisis now. Impacted New Yorkers will not forget it.
The following organizations have signed on to the letter:
Alembic Community Development
Ascendant Neighborhood Development Corporation
Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD)
Barrier Free Living Inc.
Benchmark Title Agency
Blue Sea Development Company
Brisa Builders Development LLC
Camber Property Group
Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY
Center for New York City Neighborhoods, Inc.
Center for Urban Community Services
Community League of the Heights, Inc (CLOTH)
Coalition for the Homeless
Community Access, Inc.
Community Counseling and Mediation
Community Service Society of New York
Cooper Square Community Development Committee, Inc
Curtis + Ginsberg Architects LLP
Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation
The Doe Fund
Enterprise Community Partners
Fifth Avenue Committee
Fordham-Bedford Housing Corporation
Foxy Management Ltd
Geel Community Services, Inc.
Goldstein Hall PLLC
Habitat for Humanity New York City and Westchester County
Henry Street Settlement
Hope Community, Inc
Housing Rights Initiative
The Hudson Companies
Hudson Housing Capital
Jonathan Rose Companies
Joseph A. DeLuca Advisory and Consulting Services LLC
Lantern Community Services
Low Income Investment Fund
Luxenburg & Bronfin, LLC
Magnusson Architecture and Planning (MAP)
Margert Community Corporation
Nazareth Housing Inc
Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter, Inc.
Neighborhood Restore HDFC
New Destiny Housing
New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH)
NYAH Advisors LLC
NYC Housing Partnership
Open New York
Partners for Dignity and Rights (formerly NESRI)
Project Renewal, Inc
Providence House, Inc.
RiseBoro Community Partnership
Robert Sanborn Development, LLC
Samaritan Daytop Village
Services for the Underserved
Sisters of Charity Housing Development Corporation
St. Francis Friends of the Poor
St. Nicks Alliance
Supportive Housing Network of NY
Type A Projects
University Neighborhood Housing Program
Unique People Srvices
Urban Architectural Initiatives
Volunteers of America-Greater New York