Today’s Read: City Asks Developers to Help by Housing Homeless in Affordable Units

The Coalition has long called on the City to make full use of all permanent housing resources to turn the tide on record homelessness. In welcome news, the City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development has announced a new regulation that will help more New Yorkers transition from shelters to permanent, affordable apartments.

Crain’s recently reported that HPD Commissioner Vicki Been has been calling developers who received tax breaks, informing them of a new regulation requiring that they help out in the City’s efforts to permanently house homeless families. The changes will increase the number of affordable units set aside for homeless New Yorkers, and will specifically help people return to the neighborhoods where they last lived before becoming homeless. Combined with the City’s existing rental subsidies and other housing-based initiatives, this change could bring much-needed relief to some of the more than 61,000 New Yorkers who have been struggling to find a path out of shelters.

Crain’s Joe Anuta covered the development:

“This is the latest reform in our effort to address the homeless crisis we face,” said an HPD spokeswoman in a statement. “Addressing homelessness is a moral imperative. These new marketing procedures are another new tool we are using to help reduce the burden for families who are being forced out of their homes.”

The city has struggled with a surging homeless population that topped a record 60,000 this month, with families with children making up two-thirds of that total. And earlier this year, domestic violence surpassed eviction to become the No. 1 reason for being admitted to a shelter, according to Crain’s.

While it is not unprecedented for the city’s top affordable housing official to personally call developers to inform them of a new policy, Been’s entreaties are a sign that the administration is serious about getting this one off the ground quickly and is willing to exert more pressure on companies to comply.