New York City Mayor Eric Adams released a new plan, Housing Our Neighbors: A Blueprint for Housing and Homelessness, on June 14. The plan outlines policies and strategies to transform the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), address homelessness and housing instability, create and preserve affordable housing, improve the health and safety of New Yorkers, and reduce administrative burden. Advocates in the United for Housing Coalition were pleased to see many of their recommendations included in the plan. The New York City Council also adopted its fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget on June 13, which includes historic investments in housing.
Unlike previous housing plans, the new plan focuses on overall impacts on people, systems, and processes instead of simply setting unit targets. The plan was developed with input from NYCHA residents, people who have experienced homelessness, advocates, and experts in housing and homelessness services. The city spent six months conducting community engagement activities, including administering a survey to 62,000 New Yorkers with policy questions addressing many issue areas. The survey found that, across all demographics, housing was listed as the number one priority for most respondents.
With a $40 billion backlog in capital needs, robust investment in the public housing stock is urgently needed. The plan leads with recommendations for NYCHA and sets a path for revitalizing the portfolio of public housing units – which provide homes to over 400,000 New Yorkers – while also expanding resident decision-making. In the 2020 issue of A Blueprint for Change, NYCHA proposed transferring some 110,000 apartments to a new Public Housing Preservation Trust. The city asserted that this transformation, along with the conversion of properties through Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), was necessary to secure the resources necessary to complete comprehensive capital repairs. Though some public housing residents are skeptical of these proposals and how they might limit their rights, others argue the proposals represent the best path forward for preserving NYCHA properties. The plan expresses strong support for reorganizing NYCHA operations and advancing a capital investment plan with the Public Housing Preservation Trust and executing the remainder of the RAD.
The plan includes a chapter on strategies and goals to prevent and end homelessness, including increasing financial assistance for people at-risk of homelessness, expanding services at shelters, working with the state to end the prison to shelter pipeline, and a more comprehensive and transparent approach to tracking the city’s homeless population. Other strategies focus on accelerating the development of affordable housing, streamlining and expanding access to supportive housing, leveraging zoning to encourage more affordable and supportive housing citywide, redeveloping underutilized government-owned land, converting vacant hotels to affordable and supportive housing, and promoting housing stability for renters.
The United for Housing Coalition is a diverse group of over 80 organizations from many different sectors working to ensure safe, decent, and affordable homes for all New Yorkers. Led by the New York Housing Conference, an NLIHC state partner, the coalition produced a report in 2021, United for Housing: From the Ground Up, with dozens of affordable housing policy recommendations for NYC that were included in the mayor’s new plan. The group looks forward to working with the administration on the implementation of the plan, though it has raised questions about the income targeting of certain proposals and how progress will be measured, among other things.
Housing advocates were also pleased to see increased resources for affordable housing in the FY2023 budget adopted by the City Council on June 13. The Supportive Housing Network of New York (SHNNY), an NLIHC state partner, applauded wage increases for human service workers, a 38% increase in funding for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), additional funding to expedite supportive housing placements, additional funding for street outreach and other supports for people experiencing homelessness, and expanded funding for the HIV/AIDS Services Administration’s emergency and single-room occupancy housing.
“The Adams administration’s first Housing Blueprint takes unprecedented steps toward streamlining the complex and often circuitous processes by which people in need access supportive and affordable housing,” said Maclain Berhaupt, interim director at SHNNY. “We are particularly encouraged by the administration’s strengthened commitment to and acceleration of supportive housing development. We also applaud the plan to increase engagement with those who have lived experience of homelessness and housing insecurity and use that feedback to inform real-world policies.”
The housing and homelessness plan will be implemented by various departments throughout New York City. The FY23 budget takes effect on July 1.
For more information about the New York Housing Conference, the United for Housing Coalition, and their advocacy efforts, please contact Rachel Fee at [email protected].
For more information about the Supportive Housing Network of New York, please contact Maclain Berhaupt at [email protected].