The City Council and the Mayor reached an agreement last week on New York City’s FY21 budget, which was created in the most challenging financial environment since the 2008 recession. As expected, the new budget is austere and contains significant budget cuts to a number of key programs – including a massive 40 percent cut to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Budget.
These drastic cuts undermine our city’s affordable housing program and threatens to upend our ability to provide and preserve safe, affordable homes for New Yorkers that deserve them.
A study conducted by the New York Housing Conference (NYHC) and Council Members Brad Lander and Vanessa Gibson found that the cuts will result in a reduction of over 5,000 new and 15,000 preserved affordable units over the next two years.
It is a massive loss, but we must not let up in the fight to restore this funding and eradicate our city’s affordable housing crisis.
There is still an opportunity to mitigate the impacts of this short-sighted decision and provide additional funding to the housing budget come fall.
Over the next few months, federal and state leaders may be able to provide additional funding to the city, at which point city officials will then have the ability to spend that funding for housing in a modified budget.
It will be crucial to do so. We face a massive gap in the housing budget that will mean countless projects – whether they are in the early development or proposal stage – may lack the necessary financing for completion. In fact, some projects are already grappling with the immediate impact of these cuts.
This is an unacceptable outcome in the best of times, but an unconscionable one now. Many families are relying on federal unemployment support to make rent each month, and there’s no telling what will happen to rent collection if the CARES Act expires with nothing in its place.
Our city desperately needs more affordable housing, and it is crucial that lawmakers provide us with the necessary funding to get us back on track.
This will require elected officials at every level to rise to the challenge.
Federal and state officials must release and designate the proper funds, and then City Hall needs to direct that money toward the crucial housing programs on which so many New Yorkers rely.
The New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH) stands ready to work with stakeholders to hold our leaders accountable to restore the housing budget and protect those in need of a safe and affordable place to call home.
These next few months will be critical in our shared fight for a more affordable New York. Our leaders need to take proper action to restore the budget and protect vulnerable New Yorkers.