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Owners ask Albany: Do it our way

As lawmakers in Albany look to overhaul regulations for rent stabilized homes in New York City, CHIP’s leadership unveiled their own policy proposals to tackle the housing affordability crisis in the City.

“New York’s rental assistance programs have proven effective in helping the City’s most vulnerable residents find quality, affordable housing,” said Jay Martin, Executive Director of the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP), a trade association representing owners of more than 4,000 apartment buildings in New York City.

JAY MARTIN

“Rather than expand these successful programs, lawmakers are focused on radical changes that will not add a single unit of affordable housing and will harm the decades of progress we’ve collectively made in improving our housing stock. We need to look past the overheated rhetoric and focus on policies that work. Our proposals are intended to advance that objective and help New Yorkers who need it most.”

The core tenets of CHIP’s plan include:

The expansion of the NYC Rent Freeze Program. Specifically, the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) and the Disabled Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) freezes rent for qualifying individuals who live in rent-regulated units.

According to CHIP, “The policy provides an important safety net for the most vulnerable New Yorkers, but the City needs to better disseminate information about the program as well as expand the pool of who is eligible.

“Not only does that mean increasing qualified income levels, but DRIE should be augmented to cover households that are responsible for looking after an immediate member of the family with a disability. And both SCRIE and DRIE should be available to individuals and families struggling to make ends meet in market-rate housing.”

CHIP also wants to see means-testing for rent stabilized homes. “New Yorkers that live in rent stabilized units typically stay for well over a decade, regardless of any change in socioeconomic status or size of family. These affordable units need to be consistently allocated to New York families struggling to make ends meet at a market-rate rental apartment.”

The housing group is also pushing for full funding and implementation of the Home Stability Support Program, a voucher-based system for qualified homeless individuals and families.

It says that the cost of the system will be offset by the reduced burden to the City’s shelter system.

“To be sure, as the City saw with the severe rise in homelessness after the demise of the Advantage Program in 2011, the only way to combat homelessness is to consistently fund programs that provide families with material housing and rental support,” said CHIP in a statement, noting that the organization will continue to “advocate for an evidence-based approach for the remainder of the legislation session in Albany and beyond.”

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