New York finally gets a budget, but it doesn't include major housing initiatives
- Tenant activists and landlords slam the failure to deal with a lack of affordable housing
- Without a housing bill in the budget, hopes fade for passage of a Good Cause eviction law
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Ambitious plans to tackle New York’s affordable housing crisis have been struck from the state’s $229 billion spending plans, announced in a tentative agreement reached Thursday between Governor Kathy Hochul and lawmakers.
The budget is weeks overdue and both housing activists and landlords are slamming it for its failure to tackle the lack of affordable housing in the state.
Housing was meant to be front and center in the budget. Earlier in the year Governor Hochul proposed The New York Housing Compact, a plan to deal with what she called a “historic housing shortage” by building 800,000 new homes over the next decade. The policy centered on annual housing targets for communities including New York City. In some cases, it would have allowed the state to override local zoning laws.
Hopes fade for Good Cause eviction bill
The budget faced weeks of delays, extensions, and contentious negotiations and in the end, Hochul’s housing plan was scrapped. Without it, there’s little momentum for tenant protections like the Good Cause eviction bill—a legislative proposal to cap annual rent increases and prevent landlords from evicting tenants as long as they are paying their rent on time and abiding by the terms of their lease.
Housing Justice for All, a coalition of organizations advocating for tenants and homeless New Yorkers, issued a statement from campaign coordinator Cea Weaver saying the budget is “an embarrassment and a collective failure.”
Her statement pointed out the Housing Compact on its own would not have been enough to address affordability and fears of displacement. “Tenants were clear: without strong rental assistance and protections from unjust evictions, Hochul’s plan simply would not deliver,” Weaver says.
Instead, she says, for many New Yorkers “the financial heartaches will continue.”
However, Weaver identifies one bright spot in the budget: Millions of dollars in rental relief for public housing and subsidized housing residents presently locked out of rent aid provided by the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. “This move, while welcome and necessary, is a paltry replacement for what was promised to be a robust housing plan this budget season,” Weaver says.
Owners fear higher property taxes
It’s not just tenant activists who are denouncing the absence of a housing bill in the budget. Jay Martin, executive director of the Community Housing Improvement Program, a trade organization for owners, says in a statement the failure to address the affordable housing crisis is a loss for all New Yorkers.
“Lack of supply leads to higher property taxes for all property owners, skyrocketing tax costs for rent-stabilized property owners, which means higher rent increases on rent-stabilized tenants,” he says.
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