Coalition for the Homeless Denounces State Budget Deal that Fails to Address Mass Homelessness

With homelessness at an all-time high, the Governor and Legislature’s budget puts more money in the pockets of real estate moguls and does nothing for low-income New Yorkers.

The Coalition for the Homeless released today the following statement which can be attributed to Alison Wilkey, Director of Government Affairs and Strategic Campaigns for the Coalition:

“At a time when there are over 146,000 people sleeping each night in New York City shelters, and thousands more either sleeping unsheltered on the streets or temporarily living doubled- and tripled-up in the homes of others, Governor Hochul and the Legislature have passed a State budget that again fails to address the needs of New Yorkers most in need of affordable housing. Doubling down on a trickle-down approach, the housing agreement reached by the Governor and Legislature will build more housing only for middle- and high-income households, while weakening tenant protections.

“New York City is collapsing under the burden of unaffordable rents: an alarming 86 percent of residents are rent burdened, meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent. There are effectively no housing options for extremely low-income households in NYC, with the vacancy rate for affordable apartments – those renting for less than $1,100 per month – at only 0.39 percent. The affordable housing crisis disproportionately impacts Black and Latinx residents; 56 percent of heads of household in shelters are Black, and 32 percent are Hispanic/Latinx. And New York City neighborhoods with higher Black renter populations face higher rates of executed evictions.

“The Governor’s claim of passing a “historic agreement to address New York’s housing crisis” is no more than bluster and spin. It will take years for any new housing to be built – while people are suffering now – and no new housing or subsidies are dedicated specifically to homeless and low-income New Yorkers. Further, Governor Hochul’s failure to support the Housing Access Voucher Program demonstrates a continuing lack of concern for our clients and tens of thousands of needy households across the state. Instead of the state rent supplement this program would have provided for homeless people and those at risk of eviction, Governor Hochul and the Legislature prioritized profits for developers and landlords. Take for instance the 485x tax incentive deal and the extension of 421a that gives away billions of tax-payer dollars to real estate developers to build market-rate and luxury housing, but does not require the creation of any units for formerly homeless or extremely low-income families. In addition, the budget deal lifts density caps and makes it easier for developers to convert offices to housing, but, again, without designating any of this new housing for low-income households.

“At the same time, the Governor and Legislature have created new incentives for landlords in rent-stabilized housing to push long-term tenants out by allowing huge rent increases when apartments are renovated. And while claiming to pass “good cause” tenant protections, the budget includes a gutted version of the law that would be difficult for tenants to enforce and would leave millions of renters without protections from rent-gouging landlords.

“Once again, Governor Hochul fails to deliver on housing for those who need it most. By ignoring the massive scope of the affordable crisis, this budget continues to relegate hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to sleep in shelters, on the streets, and in other makeshift arrangements.”