My plan for providing affordable housing and ending homelessness

Part 1 – Emergency Homeless Shelter Placement

Instead of heading to a centralized intake center for assignment to a hotel, displaced families and individuals would visit faith-based organizations in their own area for placement locally. Many churches and not-for-profits are interested in providing immediate, short-term housing as part of their missions. Let’s remove the barriers which prevent them from providing services. Congregations tend to come together to foster caring and supportive environments, and provide safe, secure places for people in need in a much better way than the government, which up to this point has left the homeless languishing in dangerous shelters and hotels.

Part 2 – Community Advisory Board

The board would be comprised of local residents who have expertise in fields such as law, social work, financial advisement, human resources and home improvement. They would administer to the currently homeless as well as those threatened with homelessness by offering services like resume writing, job placement, mental health referrals, legal assistance, substance abuse counseling and repairs to homes, with the ability to hire outside help when necessary.

Part 1 and Part 2 could be funded for a lot less money than we are throwing at hotels and not-for-profit providers right now. A strong support system is what is needed in order to break the cycle of homelessness plaguing our communities.

Part 3 – Mandatory Affordability as Part of As-of-Right Zoning

Developers currently get “bonus” height or bulk allowances for offering to include affordable housing in their projects. But this housing often is not permanently affordable and it is only offered to those developers seeking to build out-of-context. In order for affordable housing to work, it needs to be a mandatory part of as-of-right zoning.

LOCATIONS

• Areas at high risk of gentrification (generally that are zoned R6 or higher)
• At least 15% of units in new construction projects will be reserved for low-income families or individuals. If units targeted middle income families, the requirement would be 25%. If supportive housing is provided instead the requirement would be 10% of units.

INCOME OF RESIDENTS

• 100% affordable units for households at or below 60% of the local area median income, calculated based on zip code or community district rather than current formula based on the greater NYC region.

PRIORITY COMMUNITIES

• Families, including families with children and intergenerational households
• Tenants on fixed incomes such as seniors and disabled
• Households experiencing or at imminent risk of homelessness

Part 3 would require a zoning text change be adopted by the City Council after community board and City Planning Commission review.