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What will it take for housing to be addressed in New York? Hochul sees roadblocks

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  • Staff Report 

Governor Kathy Hochul’s efforts to expand housing availability and affordability in New York have encountered obstacles in ongoing budget negotiations. Key provisions in her initial statewide housing proposal, such as fast-tracking qualified housing projects over local objections, have reportedly been discarded by lawmakers.

Instead, sources familiar with the discussions suggest that lawmakers and Hochul are considering a housing access voucher program, similar to proposals put forth by the state Senate and Assembly in March. However, Hochul contends that this approach will not sufficiently address the issue, stating that mere incentives will not bring about the substantial change that New Yorkers need.

Her proposal has faced strong opposition from suburban lawmakers who are adamant about preserving local control. Linda Rosenthal, Democrat of Manhattan and Chair of the Assembly’s Housing Committee, commented that Hochul may be stepping back from mandates and overrides despite the pressing need for more housing in suburban areas and beyond.

Supporters of Hochul’s housing compact, such as New York Housing Conference Executive Director Rachel Fee, have expressed disappointment at the ongoing opposition and lack of final agreement. Fee criticized the Legislature’s rejection of the Housing Compact, accusing it of capitulating to powerful NIMBYs who prefer maintaining the status quo.

Housing policy and bail law changes have been central to discussions surrounding New York’s estimated $227 billion spending plan, which remains unresolved almost three weeks past its April 1 due date. Hochul has advocated for the construction of 800,000 new housing units within the next decade, including local-level growth targets for municipalities and funds for expanding water and sewer projects. However, Democratic lawmakers, such as Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, favor a more incentive-based approach to encourage development.

Lawmakers have also called for financial support for low-income renters, as eviction protections implemented during the pandemic have been lifted. A temporary spending measure approved on Monday is set to expire on Thursday.