Adams unveils housing plan but refuses to set targets


Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday announced his much-anticipated housing plan, promising to emphasize the needs of homeless New Yorkers and those in public housing, while refusing to set any targets for affordable units or the number of people he hopes to place in housing.

“We were focusing on these high numbers and not how many people we placed in apartments,” Adams said of during a press conference in Brooklyn.

The remark was an allusion to his predecessor Mayor Bill de Blasio, who pledged to build or preserve 200,000 affordable housing units over 10 years. He accomplished that goal ahead of schedule, at the end of his two terms in office, but was criticized by homeless advocates for overemphasizing quantity and failing to prioritize the poorest New Yorkers.

But when he was pressed by reporters on exactly how many New Yorkers he would seek to house, Adams declined to give a number, saying only “as many people as possible.”

“We want to focus on the finished product, not the pathway to that finished product,” he added.

The mayor’s plan, which he said incorporates input from homeless New Yorkers and public housing tenants, comes one day after the City Council passed a $101 billion budget that somecriticized for insufficient funding for affordable housing. Although the mayor has set aside $22 billion for housing over 10 years, a historically high figure, he had campaigned on spending $4 billion a year.

Officials with the New York City Housing Authority are counting on the recent passage of a state bill that would create a trust allowing the city to tap into more federal funding. Amid waning support from the federal government, the city’s public housing developments are facing a backlog of billions of dollars in capital repairs.

New York City has for decades struggled with an affordability crisis, a problem that some say has recently become even more acute amid rising rents and housing prices. Mayors have traditionally sought to create more affordable housing with a mix of rezonings, developer incentives and housing subsidies.

Adding to concerns is the upcoming decision by the Rent Guidelines Board, which is slated to increase rents on regulated apartments by as much as 6% — the biggest hike in a decade.

Under a previously announced plan, Adams said he would try to spur the creation of housing by eliminating or rewriting zoning rules and cutting red tape for developers.

On Tuesday, he promised a raft of proposals that would make the affordable housing application process easier and create a path to home ownership. Administration officials also vowed to build 15,000 units of supportive housing — a more desirable form of housing for homeless individuals which provides resources like drug and mental health treatment — by 2030. They touted the timeline as being two years ahead of schedule.

Among the bureaucratic changes city officials highlighted was the elimination of a rule that shelter residents must wait four months before applying for affordable housing.

“There’s no reason for that,” said Jessica Katz, the city’s chief housing officer.

But even as Katz expressed the administration’s commitment to building affordable housing, she nodded at the headwinds facing the city.

“We will ensure that we’re able to maintain production levels, despite rising interest rates and global supply chains and every other global crisis that the world throws at us,” she said.


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