City council leaders call on mayor to make greater investments in affordable and supportive housing

NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams
Council Speaker Adrienne Adams rallies with politicians and advocates on the City Hall steps to end the gender pay gap on March 15.
Photo by Kevin Duggan

New York City Council Members were joined by housing advocates as they called on Mayor Eric Adams to incorporate the housing policies drafted in the Council’s Preliminary Budget Response.

These policies, highlighted today by Speaker Adrienne Adams during the April 21 press conference, would increase investments in affordable housing, expand specific homeless services as key solutions to housing insecurity and homelessness, and create safer neighborhoods – according to the council members.

The investments that Speaker Adrienne Adams, Deputy Speaker and General Welfare Committee Chair Diana Ayala, Housing & Buildings Committee Chair Pierina Sanchez, and Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Lincoln Restler and Shahana Hanif, specifically called for investing more in affordable and supportive housing, while expanding funds for effective housing and homelessness solutions. 

“Housing is New Yorkers’ top priority for creating safe and healthy neighborhoods,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “We know the pathway to addressing homelessness is through affordable housing. Effective and thoughtful policies that help people remain housed and stable are in front of us; we just have to implement them. The Council is focused on addressing this crisis with sound investments and strong solutions that will help unhoused New Yorkers find permanent homes and ease the mounting pressure that all New Yorkers are feeling on housing.”

In its Fiscal Year 2023 Preliminary Budget Response, the Council’s housing investments include; Expanding capital budget investments in affordable and supportive housing to $4 billion, investing $114 million for over 2,300 new safe haven and stabilization beds and additional drop-in centers, accurately funding CityFHEPS rental vouchers, investing over $49 million to convert previous hotel shelters to affordable housing, increasing the baseline budget for domestic violence shelter beds by $41.6 million and providing a Property Tax Rebate for Homeowners in Need among other investments.

The Council additionally asked the Adams’ administration to fix crippling bureaucratic issues at the New York City Department of Social Services that are reducing the ability of the agency to help transition individuals out of homelessness or prevent them from falling victim to it

“No one chooses to become homeless,” said Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala. “We should never allow it to become the only option that someone has. Creating and protecting affordable housing opportunities must be a priority for the City to address the homelessness and public safety crisis we’re facing at this moment. We need to focus on providing people with housing and appropriate services to support them through supportive housing, which is a proven solution that we need to expand. I want to thank the Speaker, my Council colleagues and the amazing advocates for bringing these pertinent issues to the forefront.”

Community leaders outside of the Council also voiced the urgency for these measures to be passed in order to protect New Yorkers who are vulnerable to homelessness, as well as standing in solidarity with the Council itself.

“To make real progress toward ending homelessness in our city, there has to be capital resources and adequate agency staffing to meet the immense need,” said Myung Lee, president and CEO of Volunteers of America–Greater New York. “We applaud the City Council for demonstrating real leadership on these important issues and look forward to working with the Council and the Administration to move toward a city where every resident is safely and affordably housed.”