Today’s Read: Facing Pressure, de Blasio Agrees to Require Some Developers to Set Aside Housing for Homeless

New York City is about to take a huge step forward in the fight against homelessness: This week, the Council introduced an amended version of Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr.’s Intro. 1211, which requires that most new housing projects with 41 or more rental units that receive City financial assistance set aside a minimum of 15 percent of newly constructed apartments for homeless households. The bill also requires annual reporting on the number of apartments created for homeless New Yorkers. The Council is expected to vote on the bill next week.

Coalition for the Homeless Policy Director Giselle Routhier issued a statement conveying the bill’s significance:

“This is a hard-fought victory for homeless New Yorkers, many of whom were on the front lines of this campaign, alongside the advocates and Council Members who refused to take no for an answer. This unprecedented shift will mean thousands of new apartments for our homeless neighbors, at a time when such housing is desperately needed.”

The House Our Future NY Campaign, which is led by Coalition for the Homeless and 68 partner organizations, has significantly contributed to the momentum behind Intro. 1211. For nearly two years, our campaign has urged Mayor de Blasio to create 24,000 new apartments for homeless New Yorkers by 2026, and to preserve the affordability of 6,000 more. Intro. 1211-a will be a key tool to help achieve these goals by requiring the creation of more permanent, affordable housing for the New Yorkers who need it most. House Our Future NY Campaign members, including many currently and formerly homeless New Yorkers, have stood united with our Council allies during countless rallies and hearings, and we are grateful to Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Council Member Salamanca, and the many other elected officials who have worked relentlessly on this historic bill.

In response to the news of the bill’s movement, the House Our Future NY Campaign released the following statement:

“One year ago this week, members of the House Our Future NY Campaign linked arms with Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr. and staged a sit-in at City Hall to convey the urgent need for the Mayor to create more permanent housing for the record numbers of homeless New Yorkers. Today, the House Our Future NY Campaign applauds the New York City Council’s steadfast leadership in working toward a city where no person goes without a home. By requiring housing developments receiving City financial assistance to set aside at least 15 percent of newly constructed apartments for homeless New Yorkers, Intro. 1211-a will make thousands more affordable apartments available to our neighbors who desperately need them. The Council has been a crucial ally in pushing the administration to do what’s right, and the agreement announced today will give hope to the more than 62,000 New Yorkers currently in shelters and thousands more on the streets – many of whom have been on the frontlines of this campaign. We eagerly await the bill’s passage in the coming week and are committed to continuing our collaboration to ensure that it is implemented as designed. Congratulations and many thanks to Speaker Corey Johnson, Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr., and our many Council allies for treating mass homelessness like the urgent humanitarian crisis it is, and embracing this bold measure to create more apartments for the New Yorkers who need them.”

Elizabeth Kim wrote about the bill for Gothamist:

Based on an analysis of six years of city development data, the Coalition for the Homeless has estimated that the legislation will produce approximately 1,000 new apartments for the homeless a year, adding to the 1,300 units that the city is currently building a year for the unsheltered population.

“This is historic,” Salamanca told Gothamist in a phone interview on Thursday. “We’re going to change the lives of thousands and thousands of individuals.”

Giselle Routhier, the policy director for the Coalition for the Homeless, described the legislation as doing exactly what she and other homeless advocates have been asking of de Blasio.

“It marries the mayor’s housing plan and his homelessness plan, which before were two separate plans,” she said.

All told, since de Blasio took office, the city has financed over 11,700 homes for formerly homeless New Yorkers. Routhier said by her rough calculations, had the legislation been in place six years ago, the city could have produced an additional 8,500 units of housing for the homeless.

“We could have had a lower shelter census than we do now,” she said. “But it’s good that we’re doing it now. We can’t wait any longer.”

The agreement to amend the legislation was also covered by several other news outlets, including The New York Times, Politico, Curbed, The Real Deal, and 6sqft.

 

House Our Future New York Statement In Response to the City Council Introduction of Updated Homeless Housing Bill

Legislation Would Set Aside at Least 15% of Newly Constructed Apartments for the Homeless

NEW YORK, NY – The following statement from the House Our Future NY steering committee is in response to the City Council introducing an updated Intro. 1211, which would require developers who receive City financial assistance for housing development projects to set aside at least 15 percent of created apartments for homeless individuals and families:

“One year ago this week, members of the House Our Future NY Campaign linked arms with Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr. and staged a sit-in at City Hall to convey the urgent need for the Mayor to create more permanent housing for the record numbers of homeless New Yorkers. Today, the House Our Future NY Campaign applauds the New York City Council’s steadfast leadership in working toward a city where no person goes without a home. By requiring housing developments receiving City financial assistance to set aside at least 15 percent of newly constructed apartments for homeless New Yorkers, Intro. 1211-a will make thousands more affordable apartments available to our neighbors who desperately need them. The Council has been a crucial ally in pushing the administration to do what’s right, and the agreement announced today will give hope to the more than 62,000 New Yorkers currently in shelters and thousands more on the streets – many of whom have been on the frontlines of this campaign. We eagerly await the bill’s passage in the coming week and are committed to continuing our collaboration to ensure that it is implemented as designed. Congratulations and many thanks to Speaker Corey Johnson, Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr., and our many Council allies for treating mass homelessness like the urgent humanitarian crisis it is, and embracing this bold measure to create more apartments for the New Yorkers who need them.”

 

House Our Future NY Leading Organizations:

Care for the Homeless
Coalition for the Homeless
Housing Works/Bailey House
Human.nyc
Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing
Neighbors Together
Urban Pathways
VOCAL NY
The Legal Aid Society

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House Our Future NY is an advocacy campaign formed by the Coalition for the Homeless and 68 partner organizations, as well as homeless men, women, and children and other caring New Yorkers. The campaign calls for 30,000 new units of affordable, permanent housing for homeless New Yorkers by 2026, with 24,000 of these apartments to be created through new construction. Visit www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/hofny for more information

Facing Homeless Crisis, New York Vows 1,000 New Apartments a Year

A law would mandate that affordable-housing projects built with city assistance must have 15 percent of the apartments reserved for the homeless.

As New York City grapples with record numbers of homeless people, Mayor Bill de Blasio has faced deepening criticism that his plan to create more affordable housing, a signature effort of his administration, has done little to help people move from shelters into stable homes.

In an effort to address the shortfall, city officials have agreed to force developers of designated affordable-housing projects to set aside 15 percent of the units for the homeless.

The requirement will be the centerpiece of a bill that the City Council is expected to pass next week, and represents one of the city’s most ambitious effort in a decade to address the dearth of housing for homeless people.

The legislation, which applies to rental buildings with more than 40 units, would add roughly 1,000 new apartments for the homeless a year, almost doubling the 1,300 apartments that are currently under development.

Many other cities require these so-called set-asides for the lowest-income households. Boston, for instance, requires that city-funded developments with at least 10 rental units reserve 10 percent for homeless families. But there does not appear to be another mandate on the scale proposed under the legislation in New York.

The measure pending before the City Council is the culmination of a long effort to push Mr. de Blasio to redraw his housing plan to address a homeless crisis that has shown no signs of abating. About 79,000 people now live in New York’s shelters or streets, up from about 64,000 people the year before Mr. de Blasio took office.

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