Mayor’s FY25 Executive Budget also failed to restore cuts that reduced critical Department of Buildings staff focused on ensuring safety of city buildings

City Hall, NY – At today’s City Council’s Executive Budget hearing by the Committee on Housing and Buildings and the Committee on Finance, the Council continues to call for greater investments into solutions to create and preserve more affordable housing units and the restoration of cuts to over 200 inspection and maintenance staff at the Department of Buildings. The critical housing priorities were outlined by the Council in its Preliminary Budget Response released in April, but were left out of the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2025 Executive Budget.

The Council has called upon the Administration to increase capital funding for affordable housing by $3.66 billion over the next five years, including a $732 million annual increase in affordable housing and homeownership programs to meet affordability needs and fulfill the mayor’s pledge of $2.5 billion in capital funding per year for affordable housing. This would preserve and create around 60,000 affordable homes for New Yorkers of all ages and needs, including older adults, individuals with a range of low-incomes, supportive housing tenants, and aspiring homeowners. New analysis by the New York Housing Conference revealed that without these interventions in the budget, the number of affordable housing units financed by the City would decline by 32% in the coming fiscal year.

Specifically, the Council urged funding for greater investments into several Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) programs that help the City provide affordable housing and homeownership opportunities. The Council also called for financing terms of the programs to be updated to maximize their utility and to ensure homeownership opportunities are being equitably provided in areas of the City that have consistently produced housing in support of the city’s housing production goals. The current level of capital investment within the Mayor’s proposed budget falls short of the Administration’s goals in its City of Yes housing initiative and its moonshot to build 500,000 homes in the next decade, and the Council’s proposal helps to close that gap.

The Council’s proposed $732 million annual capital funding increase is comprised of:

  • $250 million for HPD’s Open Door Program to fund construction of homeownership units affordable to moderate- and middle-income households
  • $250 million to increase support for and revamp HPD’s Neighborhood Pillars Program – that provides low-interest loans and tax exemptions to non-profits and mission-driven organizations to acquire and rehabilitate unregulated or rent stabilized housing for low- to moderate-income households – by pairing it with down payment assistance for non-profits and M/WBEs.
  • $75 million to finance affordable housing units for very low-income (< 50% AMI) and extremely low-income (< 30% AMI) households
  • $50 million to finance affordable housing units for low-income households (< 80% AMI)
  • $57 million for a variety of housing preservation and rehabilitation programs, including HomeFix, Multifamily Preservation, Supportive Housing Rehabilitation, Section 202 Senior Housing, Preservation Loan Program, and Green Housing Preservation
  • $50 million for the creation of more supportive housing units

The Council has also urged increased expense funding to cover the operating and service rates of supportive housing rates provided through the 15/15 Supportive Housing Initiative ($19.6 million) and the Justice Involved Supportive Housing program ($6.4 million).

Additionally, the Council has called for the restoration of $19 million for 207 DOB positions cut as part of the 2023 November Plan and Fiscal Year 2025 Preliminary Budget vacancy reductions. This would include restoration of all the inspectorial, technical, and administrative staff removed, as well as 18 positions eliminated from DOB’s Construction Safety Division. DOB plays a critical role in ensuring that the city’s over one million buildings and more than 43,000 active construction sites follow the law and properly maintain safety standards.

Recent incidents, such as at 1915 Billingsley Terrace in the Bronx and the 57 Ann Street Parking Garage in Manhattan, exemplify how essential it is for the agency to have the capacity to carry out its oversight and regulatory responsibilities. The dearth of DOB inspection capacity has also been raised as a major concern during the Council’s review of the Administration’s Zoning for Economic Opportunity text amendment.

The Council has also called for the Administration to provide investments in a dedicated fund in the Fiscal 2025 Capital Plan for capital improvements associated with neighborhood rezonings, at least at the same level as the Neighborhood Development Fund by the prior Administration. This is a critical commitment towards advancing neighborhood rezonings.

“New York is facing its worst affordability crisis in decades. As the costs of rent and housing skyrocket, working and middle-class New Yorkers who have been here for generations – who have helped build this city – are struggling to remain in their homes as demonstrated by the 1.4% vacancy rate, the lowest on record, and increasing eviction rates,” said Council Member Pierina Sanchez, Chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings. “The City of New York’s Departments of Buildings and Housing, Preservation and Development need to be fully funded and staffed. Instead, we are contending with a DOB that has been cut by 25%, with inspector headcount down by over 500 since budget adoption in 2022, and a dramatically reduced capital budget at HPD, indicative of a slowdown of city-supported affordable housing construction, at a time where we need to be doing the opposite. Moving forward we need to preserve what we have, build more using precious subsidy dollars for those who need it the most, protect tenants and commit to a $2.5 billion capital budget initiative to create more affordable housing within New York City. Today’s hearing will delve into questions to understand agency priorities and performance.”

“It’s not rocket science – one obvious and big way to get started reducing homelessness, driving down rents, and helping working families thrive is to build more housing,” said Council Member Justin Brannan, Chair of the Committee on Finance. “Our Council recognizes the deep and far-ranging impact of expanding the availability of truly affordable housing across all five boroughs. This is really a no-brainer: people need a place to live, and everything else follows. I am proud to fight for the robust housing investments that New Yorkers deserve.

“New York City’s budget should be a reflection of our communities’ needs and priorities – and without a doubt New Yorkers need a budget that invests in real solutions to the housing affordability and homelessness crises,” said Barika X. Williams, Executive Director of ANHD. “These solutions include increased capital investment into HPD’s Neighborhood Pillars and Open Door programs to develop and preserve more affordable housing; full funding of programs like Right to Counsel and CityFHEPS that help to prevent evictions and move folks from shelters to homes, and investments agency staffing so that our city government can provide the services we need.”

“Our analysis of Mayor Adams’ Executive Budget reveals that HPD’s capital budget needs full funding if the city is to maintain existing production goals and tackle the backlog of projects,” said Rachel Fee, Executive Director of the New York Housing Conference. “We are grateful for Speaker Adams and Chair Sanchez’s housing leadership and advocacy for expanding HPD resources so that New York City can advance a more robust housing pipeline that meets our housing needs. Now is not the time to cut any investment for any housing, especially affordable and supportive housing.”