City Hall, NY – Today, Council leaders were joined by housing advocates to call for the Mayor’s Executive Budget to incorporate the housing priorities of the Council’s Preliminary Budget Response to increase investments in affordable housing, expand specific homeless services as key solutions to housing insecurity and homelessness, and create safer neighborhoods. The press conference, led by Speaker Adrienne Adams, Deputy Speaker and General Welfare Committee Chair Diana Ayala, Housing & Buildings Committee Chair Pierina Sanchez, and Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Lincoln Restler and Shahana Hanif, specifically called for investing more in affordable and supportive housing, while expanding funds for effective housing and homelessness solutions.
“Housing is New Yorkers’ top priority for creating safe and healthy neighborhoods,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “We know the pathway to addressing homelessness is through affordable housing. Effective and thoughtful policies that help people remain housed and stable are in front of us; we just have to implement them. The Council is focused on addressing this crisis with sound investments and strong solutions that will help unhoused New Yorkers find permanent homes and ease the mounting pressure that all New Yorkers are feeling on housing.”
In its Fiscal Year 2023 Preliminary Budget Response, the Council’s housing investments include:
- Expanding capital budget investments in affordable and supportive housing to $4 billion.
- Investing over $300 million to increase the most effective homeless services and housing solutions that promote housing stability and prevent and transition people from homelessness, and $90 million to support homeownership stability.
- Investing $114 million for over 2,300 new safe haven and stabilization beds and additional drop-in centers, which are more effective solutions because of their smaller, more personalized settings and thus more frequently accepted. The Mayor’s Subway Safety Plan included 140 new Safe Haven Beds, 350 new Stabilization Beds and new Drop-in Centers. Yet, this falls short of what is needed and the Mayor’s Preliminary Budget lacked funding for even this amount. The Council’s budget response aligns more with the number of unsheltered New Yorkers being 2,376, as indicated by the Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report.
- Accurately fund CityFHEPS rental vouchers that help people transition into permanent housing or avoid eviction. For the past several fiscal years, actual spending on rental assistance voucher programs has been considerably higher than the baseline budget with money added throughout the year. Council-passed legislation increased CityFHEPS voucher rates to match Section 8 levels but funding for the increase was only added for Fiscal Year 2022. The baseline budget should be increased to a level that more accurately reflects the full need and fully funds the voucher rate increase.
- Investing over $28 million to expand supporting housing for people who are justice system-involved so people leaving jail, prison or long-term hospital stays aren’t excluded from supportive housing, making them more likely to face homelessness.
- Investing over $49 million to convert previous hotel shelters to affordable housing units for families to avoid homelessness.
- Fully funding single room occupancy emergency shelter units for New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS at $47.9 million.
- Increasing the baseline budget for domestic violence shelter beds by $41.6 million to meet the actual need for domestic violence survivors by adding 800 units, ensuring adequate options for LGBTQ+ individuals and families.
- Investing over $3 million to increase the number of beds for Runaway and Homeless Youth ages 21-24 years old.
- Providing a Property Tax Rebate for Homeowners in Need. The City should provide a property tax rebate to certain households receiving the basic and enhanced STAR tax breaks with authorization from the state. Over the last 10 years, property tax bills for the City’s homeowners grew faster than household incomes, meaning homeowners commit a growing proportion of their incomes to property taxes each year. Providing property tax relief to homeowners will help alleviate some of the pressure caused by increased property values. The City can piggy-back on the State’s program to provide expanded tax relief. The Council estimates the rebate would cost the City $90 million in Fiscal 2023.
Additionally, the Council also urged Mayor Adams’ Administration to fix the bureaucratic issues at the New York City Department of Social Services that are reducing the ability to transition people out of homelessness or prevent them from falling into it.
- In recent months, the vast majority of New Yorkers eligible to receive CityFHEPS housing vouchers have not received them – some months have seen upwards of 80% of eligible New Yorkers unable to access these vouchers.
- Over 2,000 supportive housing apartments have been left empty because of agency issues with placing eligible New Yorkers in apartments.
“No one chooses to become homeless,” said Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala. “We should never allow it to become the only option that someone has. Creating and protecting affordable housing opportunities must be a priority for the City to address the homelessness and public safety crisis we’re facing at this moment. We need to focus on providing people with housing and appropriate services to support them through supportive housing, which is a proven solution that we need to expand. I want to thank the Speaker, my Council colleagues and the amazing advocates for bringing these pertinent issues to the forefront.”
“It is time for New York City to measure up to the affordable housing crisis we face,” said Council Member Pierina Sanchez, Chair of the Council’s Housing and Buildings Committee. “This is why our Council is demanding a $4B capital investment for the preservation and new construction of deeply affordable and supportive housing. We are responding to a crisis that the pandemic exacerbated but has been there for far too long. We must move beyond knee-jerk responses to achieve safety and drastically shift our focus to what works for our frontline communities: ensuring stable, healthy homes for our most vulnerable. We owe it to our low-income, LGBTQ, senior and young, disabled and unhoused New Yorkers to deliver real affordable housing. There is no equity without stability, and no stability without deeply affordable and supportive housing.”
“What homeless New Yorkers need most of all is housing,” said Council Member Lincoln Restler, Co-Chair of the Council’s Progressive Caucus. “Speaker Adams has crafted a comprehensive set of investments that will address the twin crises of homelessness and affordability. The Progressive Caucus has her back in demanding the Mayor invest in these real solutions, which will also make our neighborhoods safer.”
“I am proud to stand with my Council colleagues to boldly say that this is a City built on compassion, not cruelty. We are not a City that tells homeless people to move along, with nowhere to go, while sanitation crews throw out their belongings. Those are not New York values,” said Council Member Shahana Hanif, Co-Chair of the Council’s Progressive Caucus. “This Council is putting forward historic investments into new and safe shelter beds, street outreach, and rental assistance to meet people where they are. We know the solution to ending homelessness in our City is not simple and requires serious long-term investments. As Council Members, we are united in ending homeless through housing, treatment, and care, not inhumane sweeps.”
“For far too long we have as a city and society have not adequately addressed the crisis facing our unhoused residents,” said Council Member Carmen De La Rosa, Co-Vice Chair of the Council’s Progressive Caucus. “While we do not know the exact number, we know at least 45,000 families are living in shelters across the city and many more are unaccounted for living outside that system. It is unacceptable how we treat our fellow New Yorkers and we cannot allow this community to be further marginalized and policed. We need to shift towards supportive housing overall as a solution to homelessness, increase domestic violence bed capacity, fully fund HASA SROs, and oppose the proposed rent increases for our rent-stabilized tenants. As co-vice chair of the Progressive Caucus, I commit to fighting for the resources we need in the upcoming budget to support the rights and respect our unhoused neighbors deserve.”
“Our clients and all New Yorkers facing housing insecurity and homelessness deserve meaningful solutions to address these growing crises,” said Judith Goldiner, Attorney-In-Charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “New York must increase investments in affordable housing and expand homeless services to ensure an equitable recovery from the pandemic and that families have access to safe and affordable homes. Legal Aid lauds Speaker Adams and the City Council for prioritizing these needed measures.”
“To make real progress toward ending homelessness in our city, there has to be capital resources and adequate agency staffing to meet the immense need,” said Myung Lee, president and CEO of Volunteers of America–Greater New York. “We applaud the City Council for demonstrating real leadership on these important issues and look forward to working with the Council and the Administration to move toward a city where every resident is safely and affordably housed.”
“We know what works in conducting homeless outreach. Having enough Safe Haven and Stabilization Beds is absolutely critical in engaging people experiencing street homelessness to accept services and get on a pathway into permanent Supportive Housing,” said Rod Jones, Executive Director of Goddard Riverside. “We applaud Speaker Adrienne Adams and the City Council for proposing to add these resources to the city budget—and especially the $4 billion in capital funding annually for affordable and supported housing and NYCHA.”
“When we convened a coalition of more than 90 of New York’s housing experts, advocates, and practitioners to discuss how New York City should address its housing crisis, we heard one message loud and clear: we need more resources, and we need them now,” said Rachel Fee, Executive Director of the New York Housing Conference and organizer of the United for Housing coalition. “We are glad that the City Council has also heard the call and echoed our ask for $4 billion in capital funding for housing, and we hope to see Mayor Adams and his administration follow suit so that we can build an equitable and affordable New York City.”
“We need to invest in our communities and provide resources for those experiencing homelessness. We do not solve immensely complex issues without addressing the equally complex reasons behind them,” said Michelle Jackson, the Executive Director of the Human Services Council. “The Human Services Council stands with the Progressive Caucus in calling for investments in the programs we need to assist those experiencing homelessness – supportive housing, safe havens, and support services that are aimed at helping individuals move from crisis to wellness. We look forward to an actual collaborative approach to solving this crisis, an approach that will only be successful if we invest in human services programs and recognize the need for just wages for workers that are providing these essential services.”
“Mayor Adams promised to enact common sense, good government solutions to the homelessness crisis- but instead of investments in housing, services and care we know work, we are just seeing more police, leading to more harassment,” said VOCAL-NY Leader Douglas Powell. “I hope the Mayor listens to me and the Progressive Caucus, and embraces their plan so me and so many others can get out of these dangerous and undignified shelters.”
“The Supportive Housing Network strongly supports the Council’s inclusion of $4 billion for affordable and supportive housing in their response to the Mayor’s preliminary budget,” said the Supportive Housing Network’s Executive Director Laura Mascuch. “The Council clearly understands that the City is in the midst of an affordable housing and homelessness crisis of epic proportions that calls for bold, decisive action. With 50,000 New Yorkers currently in shelter, thousands more on our streets and hundreds more being rousted from subways and encampments every day with nowhere to go, the City clearly needs to be investing in the answer to homelessness: housing.”
“The key to equity and opportunity is ensuring access to safe, secure, affordable housing” said Brenda Rosen, President and CEO of Breaking Ground. “Thank you to Speaker Adams, Deputy Speaker Ayala, and Council Members Restler, Sanchez and Hanif for your leadership in seeking significant investments to create and preserve affordable housing, along with critical resources to help more of our fellow New Yorkers come indoors off the streets.”
“If New York City is serious about addressing the crisis of homelessness, it is imperative that we dedicate resources necessary to meet the moment,” said Catherine Trapani, Executive Director of Homeless Services United. “Ensuring sufficient funding to open enough new low barrier, safe haven, stabilization bed and drop-in center programs to meet the needs of those currently on the streets, as well as making sure we are committing substantial capital investments in deeply affordable housing to guarantee long term housing stability for those who need it most, is essential. We are grateful to the City Council for prioritizing these investments in the City budget and hope they are included in the final agreement.”
“We need to invest in our communities and provide resources for those experiencing homelessness,” said Na’ilah Amaru, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Human Services Council. “We do not solve immensely complex issues without addressing the equally complex reasons behind them. The Human Services Council stands with the Progressive Caucus in calling for investments in the programs we need to assist those experiencing homelessness – supportive housing, safe havens, and support services that are aimed at helping individuals move from crisis to wellness. We look forward to an actual collaborative approach to solving this crisis, an approach that will only be successful if we invest in human services programs and recognize the need for just wages for workers that are providing these essential services.”