With an increasing population and a diminishing affordable housing supply New York City is facing a huge housing crisis. A great number of New Yorkers are paying 60 to 70% of their incomes just to keep a roof over their heads. We have people who have full-time jobs yet still their families must live in homeless shelters.
We must realistically define what affordable housing is. The US government standard states no one should spend more than 30% of their pretax income on housing. Using an average salary of $47,000 a year will mean the renter should pay no more than $1,175. So where can a single mother with one child find an affordable apartment for that amount of money in New York City! That will barely pay for a studio in most neighborhoods in this city.
So here are some of my solutions.
- End all subsidies to luxury apartment buildings. The 80/20 program has not worked to significantly increase New York City’s housing supply.
- Re-create a new Mitchell Lama program which was a very successful program instituted by the state that will helped tens of thousands of New Yorkers.
- Work with developers to build rental buildings for low and moderate income New Yorkers who make up the majority of our citizenry.
- Using up to 10% of the city and state pension plans to build union housing. This will help us recruit new teachers, firefighters, police officers and other public employees who are struggling because of the skyrocketing rents.
- Put a tighter rein on what we pay to private landlords that house our homeless population on a temporary basis. It is a sin to be paying more than twice for a dilapidated facilities then it would cost as to rent a nice apartment.
- We need to reduce the time and paperwork to approve new buildings. We need new apartments now! It ludicrous that takes one third to half the time to build a building then to complete all the paperwork!
- We also must strengthen the punishments on landlords who abuse rent regulated tenants by illegally raise rents or physically and mentally abuse tenants with both financial fines and jail time.
Housing is a necessity for our community and we must balance the needs of our current and future residents with rights of landlords to make a fair profit. We must redefine what real affordability is based on the real incomes and not the medium income of the entire city. We should end all subsidies to developers building luxury buildings and put those subsidies into moderate and low income housing. We need to make it tougher on both landlords and tenants who abuse our system.