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MSCC Homeless & Housing Meeting Recap For March 2, 2021

(MSCC) Sharon Jasprizza, Posted March 31, 2021

OVERVIEW

Today’s meeting agenda is with emphasis on Housing Initiatives progress from Ted Houghton, Gateway.

Date: Zoom 9:30 am Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Chair person: John Mudd

COMMUNITY LAND TRUSTS (CLT)

  • Updates on CLT’s initiatives will be discussed at a future meeting

SPECIAL INTRODUCTION(S) AND OR UPDATES: 

Daniel Pichinson, Ryan Chelsea Clinton: 

  • The clinic is now receiving more vaccines in the last few weeks and has vaccinated 6000 doses to date (no severe side effects so far). Available to people over 65, those with underlying conditions, and frontline workers. Check the NY website for categories. Ryan Chelsea Clinic is not only vaccinating at their clinic but also mobilizing to reach vulnerable and people at risk, people who are homeless and seniors in the community 
  • Working with insurance companies to cover volunteers
  • Licensed health professionals are needed

POLICY MEETING UPDATES

Cassie Dessalines, Program Director, Bronx Works, updated the committee on the previous 8:30 Homeless and Housing Policy meeting. The meeting concentrated on whether there was a need for specific numbers of housing units or if the broad data was sufficient to determine what housing units and types needed. Types of affordable and supportive Housing and their successful models were discussed. 

ADAPTIVE REUSE OF COMMERCIAL SPACE

Ted Houghton, President of Gateway Housing

  • New York State Senator Brian Kavanagh is working to progress a Bill to facilitate hotels to housing conversion
  • Hotels can be immediately be converted to shelters when both have the same zoning
  • Hotels to Housing requires rezoning when hotels and housing codes differ
  • Senator Kavanagh’s Bill allows Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to manage local approval processes
  • The Governor introduced a Bill in the Budget, which opened up debate because it would override all local zoning controls and allow all office buildings and hotels to be converted to market-rate Housing as long as it had a 20% affordable housing component. This was increased to 25% after pushback from the community. The Bill would also not allow developers to build the affordable housing component off-site. Senator Kavanagh’s Bill is more targeted
  • New York State Senator Michael Gianaris introduced another Bill with Vocal Housing Initiative’s input
  • The Hotel Trade Workers Union, and Legal Aid, and which sets up a fund for distressed properties. It has a different approach and puts it at the State level
  • Ted and representatives are meeting later today to see if they can reconcile both the Kavanagh and Gianaris Bills and get a “look-alike” Bill in the House. Hopefully, it would go through the Budget process or a stand-alone Bill
  • There are capital dollars in the Budget for supportive Housing, but only enough for existing pipelines. New dollars are needed. 
  • The House of Reps passed the Covid Bill last night for $5 billion Housing for the homeless and includes money for hotels to housing conversion. $273 million would come to NYC, and $94 million would come to NYS if it passes through the Senate 
    • This will not be enough money to solve the housing issues. There is a billion going into the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) coming from Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac for the production band preservation of affordable housing for low-income families nationwide 
    • Need the NYS to add more dollars to the Budget for supportive and affordable Housing

A number of community concerns discussed regarding the location of hotels that may be converted to Housing, lack of affordable housing for people earning less than $50,000, if hotels are left and or boarded up, then other problems may result as they did in the 1980s. Student loans, lack of affordability, and recent events mean that many young people may never be able to afford their own home.

Marcel Negret, Senior Planner, Regional Plan Association (RPA) marcel@rpa.com

  • RPA involved in research and conversations about zoning, facilitation for conversions, and funding
  • Approaching this from good neighborhood planning
  • Started a preliminary index and mapping of, commercial properties including hotels and parameters for the ability for conversion to Housing to inform policy discussion. Floor size, inner courtyards, and other parameters included in the study

Community issues raised were the financial issues, community use, and office use conversion. The Real Estate Board is saying office use should be able to be converted to Housing. Zone B will earn more money as luxury housing than as office space. Industry experts saying five years before, hotels will go back to previous use levels.

STREET SHEETS

These are being printed. Street sheet resources were vetted and contacted by volunteers and Corey Johnson’s office. Shannon posted pdf link in the chatbox. Let John Mudd know if you need or can add to the Street Sheets. 

PUBLIC CONCERNS

  • Xue, Shuayao, was connect to the CUCS team. No further updates

Other announcements

  • Phyllis introduced herself from the Ministry. Phyllis will contact John Mudd
  • Laurie Hardjowirogo from Corey Johnson’s office spoke with MTA and all agencies are coordinating for events: Live On for seniors, and on March 24, a health advocacy event 
  • Anglea Mortimer introduced herself
  • Suzanne from CB4 for Historical Preservation and Conservation is interested in supporting the committee to bring the CBs together 

ANNOUNCEMENTS / EVENTS

  • John spoke about Our friend George McDonald passed away on January 26, 2021
  • Need a commercial space for outreach and other social services and for another farm. Contact John Mudd.
  • Shower Power needs a person to manage their outdoor shower program, Contact John Mudd.
  • Jordan Otis (Midtown Community Court) spoke about the Community Navigators Unit 
  • David Ward, Vice President, Trinity Church Wall Street,  spoke about Trinity Church Compassion markets operate Monday 1.00 – 3.30 pm in grand St. David will send John Mudd the updated information

AOB

  • Next Meeting: 9:30 am, Tuesday, April 6, 2020 (The first Tuesday of every month)