Paul Massey, the Cushman & Wakefield executive turned mayoral candidate, is putting the blame for New York City’s affordable housing crisis on the incumbent he’s trying to unseat.
However, his accusations are not connected to a city directive that has caused immense harm. He said that the city’s housing shortage is partly due to the mayor’s sour relationship with the governor. The tussle between the city and the state, he claims, has led to a slowdown in the creation of affordable housing.
“Part of the answer is the partnership between the mayor and the governor. Right now, they have a horrible relationship. There’ll be no housing bill on any kind of scale without working with the governor, who, by the way, I think is doing a great job,” he said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo have a long-running feud over issues like affordable housing and education. The rivalry has devolved to odd stand-offs such as the dueling press briefings after the Chelsea pressure-cooker bomb attack last year. If elected, Massey promised that his relationship with state officials would be more cordial.
“The prior administrations had great housing programs. Now nothing’s being done,” Massey said. “We’ll create housing on a scale that’s unprecedented. Again, it comes back down to embracing the state administration, embracing the relationship with the governor to get it done. I think all those folks want us to have a great City of New York,” he said.
Massey’s statements run against city figures that show a burgeoning affordable housing program. Earlier this month, the de Blasio administration announced that 21,963 units of affordable housing were built or preserved in the city in 2016. The total, which includes 6.844 newly constructed apartments, stands as the highest since 1989.
“In just three years, this City has preserved affordability for families living in 41,600 homes and has spurred construction of 20,800 new affordable apartments – more than any time in the past 25 years. As we continue to work with our state and federal partners, we will build and protect even more homes for our teachers, cops, seniors, veterans, and homeless families, among others,” said Melissa Grace, a communications advisor at the mayor’s office.
Nonetheless, Massey argued that the city’s housing supply is not only inadequate, it is also outdated.
“We have 3.4 million housing units in New York City, (with an) average age of 75 years old. So we’ve got a depreciating asset on a large level. We need housing on a scale that nobody’s talking about now. We need hundreds of thousands of units and we need them immediately because without housing there’s no middle class (and) there’s no supportive housing. That’s the big thing. We need supply,” he said.
Massey is one of the early threats to de Blasio’s mayoral seat. According to the city’s Campaign Finance Board, he has raised $1.6 million, about $600,000 more than the de Blasio campaign. He’s ahead of a growing pool of challengers that include former NYPD detective Bo Dietl and State Senator Tony Avella.