“We commend the State Senate and Assembly for funding much-needed measures to keep New Yorkers stably housed, amid the historic affordable housing challenges we currently face. These measures include the vital Housing Access Voucher Program (HAVP), for which both chambers have allocated $250 million. We urge the Governor to support this essential investment in HAVP in the final budget.
We also applaud both houses for providing funding to address rental arrears for public housing and Section 8 tenants, who, despite need, were not able to benefit from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. As New York sees surging numbers of rental arrears during our ongoing recovery from the economic impact of Covid-19, our public housing authorities and housing owners need these resources so they can meet their own expenses and maintain their buildings.
In addition, we are grateful that the Senate included more funding for fair housing testing and enforcement; however, we hope the final budget increases the overall funding to $7 million so that Fair Housing Organizations can continue at their current level of service and expand to fully serve the state. With many eligible residents illegally prevented from renting homes due to persistent housing discrimination, we must remain steadfast in upholding New York’s strong fair housing laws.
However, while these measures are imperative, it is also crucial that New York removes barriers to developing new affordable housing. Governor Hochul’s Housing Compact outlined new measures to streamline zoning processes and spur all communities in New York State to create more affordable housing. We join the disappointment that both houses have removed many of these important Housing Compact measures in the budget, including the provision that would allow another track to consider affordable housing projects in communities not meeting minimum development targets. We're also concerned by the Legislature’s removal of provisions to encourage transit-oriented development, accessory dwelling units, and the rehabilitation of abandoned properties. The Legislature acknowledged our state’s ongoing scarcity of affordable housing – but it must budget for new measures to combat that shortage, which their plan as outlined fails to do.
We urge Governor Hochul and our State Legislature to fund and enact necessary measures – including the Housing Access Voucher Program and Fair Housing enforcement resources – to keep New Yorkers in their homes in the short term and to spur the new affordable housing development we need over the long term. Current and future New Yorkers are counting on this action from our leaders now.”
-Baaba Halm, vice president and New York market leader, Enterprise Community Partners