We have a crisis of affordability on our hands.
New York City’s shortage of affordable housing crisis starts in great part with the erosion of New Yorkers’ purchasing power in the housing marketplace. An apartment is considered “affordable” if a family spends approximately one third or less of its income to live there. Wages for the City’s renters have stagnated over the last 20 years, increasing by less than 15 percent, after adjusting for inflation. During the same period, the average monthly rent for an apartment in New York City increased by almost 40 percent. As a result, most New Yorkers now have limited options for housing and are rent-stressed, meaning they spend more than 30 percent of income just to put a roof over their heads. High rent-burden affects nearly every income group in every neighborhood across the five boroughs.
This crisis is also in many other ways due to New York City's success. We are a safer, more welcoming city than decades ago. People from all over the world come to study, work or start a business here. That has put pressure on our housing stock and created a mismatch between demand for, and the supply of, housing. For the first time in decades, more people are moving to or staying in the City than leaving. Our older residents are aging in place rather than moving after retirement. Young families are remaining in the City rather than moving to the suburbs when their children reach school age. Empty-nesters are returning to the City after their children are grown, and people are moving to the City from all over the United States, as well as all over the world. The attractiveness of the City is a hard-fought victory, and we must continue to retain and attract residents in order to prosper.
This Administration under Mayor de Blasio believes that the market alone is not always able to meet the need for every New Yorker to have a safe and affordable place to live, in a neighborhood that provides opportunities to get ahead. Accordingly, governments at all levels are working together to help.
The Housing New York plan, released in May 2014, is the Mayor’s five-borough, ten-year plan to address the city’s housing crisis. In this plan, the Mayor has committed to building and preserving 200,000 affordable units and helping tenants and small landlords preserve the quality and affordability of homes throughout New York City. Housing New York seeks to create opportunities for New Yorkers with a range of incomes, from the very lowest to those in the middle class, and will help build or rebuild vibrant, diverse, livable neighborhoods.
Below are several of DCP’s strategies and initiatives to show what DCP is doing to help the City plan for more housing production and affordability.
Zoning for Quality & Affordability, a key initiative of Mayor de Blasio’s 10-year, 5-borough housing plan, involves a proposed set of targeted changes to zoning regulations. ZQA advances numerous goals of Housing New York, including making the City more affordable, and fostering diverse, livable communities with buildings that contribute to the character and quality of neighborhoods.
Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, another key initiative of Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan, is also a proposed zoning text amendment from DCP and HPD to establish requirements for a share of new housing created through future rezonings to be permanently affordable. This proposal marks a new approach to ensuring neighborhood economic diversity as we plan for growth.
PLACES: Neighborhood Planning Studies are comprehensive studies that examine and address key land use and zoning issues in a variety of neighborhoods, but also take a broader look at current and future community needs to identify a wide range of strategies and investments that accompany the land use and zoning changes and support neighborhood-specific growth and vitality.