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HOMELESS AND HOUSING MEETING RECAP For February 2, 2021

(MSCC) Sharon Jasprizza, February 2, 2021

OVERVIEW

Today’s meeting agenda is with emphasis on Housing Initiatives progress from Ted Houghton; discussion and research on Safe Injection Sites from Richard Perkins; Leslie-Ann Tommey interest in developing a support program for victims.

Meeting Date: Tuesday, February 2, 2021, 9:30 am-10:30 am, Zoom

Chair person: John Mudd

POLICY MEETING UPDATES

The prior 8:30 Homeless and Housing Policy meeting (Feb 2, 2021) focused on housing needs and the formula needed to pitch the needs to larger stakeholders. Data seeking from the following: DHS, street outreach, and other organizations outside DHS, people who are unstably housed, e.g. couch surfers. It may be prudent to reach out to  Interfaith and Faith-based groups to see if they need help.  The need to identify different services and housing services was also discussed.

INTRODUCTION/UPDATES

Richard Perkins thanked The office of Brad Holyman for the supply of sanitizers. 

HOUSING INITIATIVES AND OPPORTUNITIES

Ted Houghton, President of Gateway Housing

The governor has recently released the executive budget proposal. The legislature will be holding hearings. A budget will be negotiated and adopted by April 1. There is a 6000 unit goal which is part of a 20,000 unit plan over 15 years. 

In the budget is a proposal for the State to override local zoning for 5 years to allow conversion of office buildings and hotels to Housing. Conditions: has to have at least 20% affordable or supportive Housing, or pay into a fund for off-site housing development, strict geographical parameters for office conversion( Park and 9th), and for the hotels across the City with 150 rooms or fewer.

Other points Ted and committee members raised:

  • The proposal has come from the Real Estate Board of NY. In 2017 420 (1A) tax breaks changed from 20% to 25%  to be supportive Housing. Real Estate Board of NY may also want this to be 20%
  • Real Estate Board of NY focused on themselves to develop Class B and Class C office space to housing
  • affordability not defined, no requirement for units to be rent-regulated
  • 200 of the 800 hotels are in the light manufacturing zone, of which 40 are in Midtown. These can be turned immediately into shelters. This legislation may change this to Housing without ULER.  However, this may mean more luxury Housing will result in only a few affordable housing units rather than other types of supportive and homeless Housing.
  • Concerns: about losing office space, 
  • Challenges: community input needed, how is Housing allocated to stock, preservation of existing Housing with knowledge of history, Real Estate Board and developers should not be the main drivers, the Community in the first place did not want hotels; midtown vision is to be a 24/7 neighborhood rather than what it has become, i.e., commercial space. Developers have been responsible for writing the vision for our City in the past 

Action:

  • Ted recommends the Council continue to lobby for Housing, weigh-in, and push for input; NIMBY voices are using zoning to prevent Housing, so it’s essential for our community input. 
  • John Mudd will send the link to the zoning language to our committee
  • Luke Wolf will send John Mud link for Comptroller’s proposal for Housing
  • Emily Bartosek Community Liaison/Scheduler
    New York State Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal office will pass on our concerns and ideas from our meetings