Where do the Mayoral Candidates Stand on Affordable Housing? 

April 22, 2021

As New York City prepares to elect its new mayor, we are turning our attention to the top Democratic candidates and their positions on how to address affordable housing. While all of the candidates agree that affordable housing is important, how they approach it varies widely.

Here is a summary of each of the top eight Democratic candidates’ affordable housing platforms.

Eric Adams

Adams’ affordable housing platform details his belief that the city needs a more coordinated approach that balances community involvement and the city’s ability to grow. Adams has been critical of upzonings in low-income neighborhoods and has said that he would look into upzoning affluent neighborhoods, particularly areas south of 42nd Street in Manhattan. Adams has also indicated he would support the expansion of low-income homeownership programs.

Shaun Donovan

Donovan has said that, if elected, his plan would create 30,000 affordable housing units annually, spread across varying income levels. Donovan’s platform includes several land use policy reforms such as expediting approvals for projects comprising 100 percent affordable housing, expanding inclusionary housing programs, and supporting upzonings in high-opportunity areas of the city. Donovan’s plan also includes an ambitious commitment of up to $4 billion per year in capital funding for affordable housing production and preservation.

Kathryn Garcia

The Garcia campaign’s platform focuses on leveraging private development to build more affordable housing and investing city funds to create 50,000 units of deeply affordable housing. Garcia has been critical of single-family zoning and would promote land use policies that permit multifamily housing, as well as legalize basement apartments and accessory dwelling units. A Garcia administration would target upzonings in areas of the city that are rich in transit, jobs, and schools. She has also been critical of the existing land use review process and would seek to accelerate approvals for new housing construction.

Raymond McGuire

McGuire released his “A Home for All: The McGuire NYC Housing Plan” to address the housing crisis. His goal is to increase the citywide housing supply by 10 percent, or 350,000 units, over eight years. To meet that goal, McGuire would double the number of capital funds the city spends on affordable housing construction and leverage the market to build more middle and moderate-income housing. A McGuire administration would support zoning bonuses to incentivize affordable housing development, leverage partnerships for employer-subsidized housing, permit the legalization of basement apartments and accessory dwelling units, and convert up to 10 percent of the city’s hotel stock into affordable housing. He would also advance citywide rezonings to increase the number of sites on which new housing can be built.

Dianne Morales

The Morales campaign has indicated in its plan that it would declare housing a right and prioritize partnerships with nonprofit and mission-driven developers. Morales supports exploring the implementation of new taxes that would discourage landowners from keeping their land vacant and expanding a cooperative ownership agenda that would increase tenant control. Morales has been critical of existing land use review processes and advocates creating a community-centered comprehensive plan. Additionally, a Morales administration would support enacting flexible zoning that allows for the conversion of vacant office space and hotels into affordable housing.

Scott Stringer

Stringer has recently released a 27- point housing plan. A key component of Stringer’s plan is that it would require all new residential developments with 10 or more units to include a minimum of 25 percent affordable housing units. Stringer has also been critical of the existing land use review process and promises to replace “developer-driven rezonings” with comprehensive planning. A Stringer administration would also support creating a New York City Land Bank to turn city-owned vacant lots into affordable housing for the lowest-income New Yorkers.

Maya Wiley

Wiley’s affordable housing development platform’s key components include increasing support for first-time home ownership and converting hotels and offices vacated during the COVID-19 health pandemic to affordable housing. Wiley has said she would use land banks and community trusts to purchase vacant commercial spaces and turn them into affordable housing or limited equity co-ops.

Andrew Yang

Yang’s affordable housing plan pledges to create affordable housing across the city by investing in innovative solutions such as micro-units and communal living, and by easing the process to legalize basement apartments. The Yang campaign has also pledged to convert underutilized hotel and office buildings into affordable housing and survey city-owned land to identify parcels suitable for affordable housing development. Yang has been critical of the current land use review process and calls for creating a comprehensive citywide plan.

 


Authors

Alyssa Baldassini

Associate

abaldassini@cozen.com

(212) 883-2233

Vivien Krieger

Member

vkrieger@cozen.com

(212) 883-2228

Katie Schwab

Practice Director

kschwab@cozen.com

(212) 883-4913

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This Alert was drafted with the assistance of Lauren Turenchalk, a legislative analyst with Cozen O'Connor Public Strategies.