Adams touts affordable housing production as city runs out of room for migrants

August 3, 2023

Photo Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr

New York City created more supportive housing and homes for formerly homeless New Yorkers during fiscal year 2023 than any year on record, Mayor Eric Adams announced Thursday. Between June 2022 and June 2023, the mayor said the city produced 27,000 affordable homes, including new construction and preservation of existing homes, and connected the largest number of people to permanent housing using the CityFHEPS vouchers in the program’s history. The announcement comes just days after Adams announced the city had run out of space to house the thousands of asylum seekers arriving weekly, leading to many migrants sleeping outside of the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown this week.

“We can do this. We can build for New Yorkers. The inventory must meet the demand. Our population increased, and we have to increase the housing stock and build our way out of this. We’re showing it can be done, give us the support we need and we will continue to get it done,” Adams said.

Nearly 25 percent of all homes financed by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) will house individuals earning between 0 and 30 percent of the area median income. Additionally, HPD has increased the number of households moving into affordable homes by 37 percent compared to 2022 through the city’s housing lottery system.

During a press briefing on Thursday, Adams called upon the state government to create a “new and improved” 421-a tax abatement program, which plays a vital role in incentivizing developers to create new affordable housing. According to Adams, in fiscal year 2023, new housing projects that relied on 421-a consisted of half of all the city’s newly built affordable housing. In June, New York State lawmakers failed to reach a deal on housing and extend 421-a.

Adams hopes to create 500,000 new homes across the five boroughs within the next decade as outlined in his “Get Stuff Built” plan. The three-pronged plan is an effort to accelerate the production of housing across the five boroughs to address the current housing shortage and accommodate NYC’s projected growth over the coming years.

The city’s urgent need for new housing is being exacerbated by the current migrant crisis. There are roughly over 107,000 people in the city’s care, including more than 56,000 asylum seekers, as of this week. Over 95,600 people have come through the shelter system since last spring.

NYC is expected to spend more than $4 billion per year on its shelter system by 2024, according to the New York Times. The Adams administration has called upon both the state and federal governments to help address the crisis.

Over the past week, a growing mass of asylum seekers have camped outside of the Roosevelt Hotel on East 45th Street and Vanderbilt Avenue waiting to enter the city’s shelter system. Adams has stated that his administration has a plan to ensure that NYC doesn’t see the development of tent cities that have popped up in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, according to the New York Times.

Last week, Adams claimed that the city has no room left to house asylum seekers and has renewed his calls to the state and federal governments for assistance. To deter migrants from traveling to the city, the Adams administration has posted fliers at the country’s southern border, telling potential asylum seekers that they are not guaranteed services if they come to NYC.

Following the scene outside of the Midtown hotel, the Coalition for the Homeless and the Legal Aid Society released a joint statement criticizing the city’s management of the scene outside the Roosevelt and threatening litigation.

“There is no dispute that the City has a legal obligation to find an appropriate placement for anyone in need of shelter in a timely fashion. Denying new arrivals placement and forcing people to languish on local streets is cruel and runs afoul of a range of court orders and local laws.

“The multiple stories and photos that have circulated on social media and reports from our clients who are stuck without shelter is both heartbreaking and maddening, and should this continue, we will have no choice but to file litigation to enforce the law.”

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