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On Housing, NYC Mayoral Candidates Fall Short of Specific Commitments to End the Affordability Crisis

June 2, 2021

ANHD Analyzes Mayoral Candidates’ Housing Platforms

With the NYC primaries only a few weeks away, there has been surprisingly little focus on affordable housing in this election cycle. Affordable housing has and continues to be a key issue for New York City voters. According to recent polling data by the Regional Plan Association, 78% of New York City respondents support policies to increase the amount of affordable housing in the region. There have been affordable housing questions in mayoral forums and debates. But they haven’t left the public with a clear understanding of where candidates stand on the variety of key affordable housing issues. 

To help provide clarity and transparency, ANHD analyzed the housing platforms of the top 8 mayoral candidates. We focused only on candidates’ written housing platforms, not all candidates’ statements or comments. In our experience that is what communities and the public can hold a candidate accountable to once they are in office.   

From our analysis as of May 28, 2021, it is clear our movement has made remarkable progress - and that there is still a lack of willingness to commit to ending New York City’s longstanding affordability and homelessness crisis among those who want to lead this city into the next decade. In certain respects, the candidates’ platforms are evidence of the power the affordable housing movement has built. Policies such as ensuring Right to Counsel, expanding Community Land Trusts, and legalizing Accessory Dwelling Units now enjoy broad support thanks to years of organizing in communities throughout the city.

But the candidates’ platforms are still largely focused on inputs, not outcomes. Not a single one of the top 8 candidates’ housing platforms includes a specific commitment to ending homelessness in New York City, eliminating rent burdens, or closing the racial wealth gap in homeownership.

To be clear, every candidate’s platform includes commitments to funding subsidy programs, building units, and implementing policies like fair housing enforcement and homeownership assistance, and these all matter a great deal. But if anything has been made apparent over the past several administrations, it’s that details matter - units built, neighborhoods rezoned, money invested, and legislation passed don’t necessarily translate into decreased homelessness and increased affordability if these have not been explicitly set as the metrics by which we can hold our city government accountable. If NYC’s leadership can commit to ending traffic deaths - not just to the tools they’ll use to achieve it but to the actual goal - then they should be able to do the same on the housing issues that shape our lives.

The lack of commitment on impacts is mirrored in a disappointing lack of focus on healthy housing, and the day-to-day issues of poor conditions that so many New York City tenants face - lack of repairs, no heat, mold, lead paint, pests, unsafe construction - these problems are far too common, help to drive displacement, and contribute to the extreme health disparities that the COVID-19 pandemic brought into clear view.

Likewise, while all the candidates make mention of race in some way in relation to the housing market, outcome-oriented commitments to reducing racial disparities, closing the racial wealth gap, and housing discrimination are scarce. And yet we know these racial disparities persist. RPA’s poll found that nearly 48% of Black New York City residents said rent or home payments have been the biggest source of stress during the pandemic, compared to only 12% of white respondents.

At ANHD, we believe the lack of attention and information on affordable housing is a disservice to residents who want to make informed election decisions on an issue that directly impacts all our lives. Over the last few decades, we’ve had City leadership that spoke of commitments, yet left the city less affordable and with more people homeless. New Yorkers deserve to know specifics on how mayoral candidates plan to address such a critical and entrenched issue.

The guide below pulls out just a few specific topics to help educate New Yorkers on the mayoral candidates’ platforms. We need the next mayor of New York City - whoever it is - to make bold commitments to end the affordability crisis once and for all, and to ensure that every single New Yorker has a healthy, safe, and affordable place to call home.

Click Here to View Part 1 of ANHD's Comparison on Instagram

Click Here to View Part 2 of ANHD's Comparison on Instagram


To read the candidates’ full housing platforms yourself, follow the links below:

Eric Adams
Shaun Donovan
Kathryn Garcia
Ray McGuire
Dianne Morales
Scott Stringer
Maya Wiley*
Andrew Yang

*This platform has been significantly updated since May 28 and is not fully reflected in ANHD’s comparison chart.


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