Major New Housing Report, “Right to a Roof,” Calls for Integrated Housing Plan from NYC’s Next Mayor

Community Organizations Release Demands for an Integrated Housing Plan to End Homelessness and Promote Racial Equity

Press Contacts:
Melanie Breault, Melanie.B@anhd.org, 860-303-3689 (ANHD)
Yatziri Tovar, yatziri.tovar@maketheroadny.org, 917-771-2818 (Make the Road NY)

 

NEW YORK, NY -- Today, leading community organizations from across New York City released a new report, “Right to a Roof: Demands for an Integrated Housing Plan to End Homelessness and Promote Racial Equity,” which concludes that the city’s next mayor must develop and implement an integrated housing plan to end homelessness and promote racial equity. The report outlines how the next administration can ensure the right to a roof for all by rejecting austerity, ending homelessness, promoting racial equity, and prioritizing housing opportunities for those who need them most.

The report’s core recommendations include the need for the next administration to:

  • Create an Integrated Housing Plan (IHP) to End Homelessness and Promote Racial Equity: this plan should bring together all the agencies involved in housing, building, and planning and be overseen by a new position of Deputy Mayor for Homelessness, Housing, and Planning.
  • Prioritize Need Over Numbers: focus on providing permanent, deeply affordable housing for those who need it most and preserving public housing without privatization.
  • Improve Access to Affordable and Supportive Housing: prioritize an interagency approach that streamlines the process for finding and securing affordable and supportive housing options, as well as promoting fair housing.
  • End Real Estate Speculation by Supporting Community Ownership: stabilize neighborhoods by creating and preserving 100% permanent, affordable housing that is community built and community owned, and working to keep existing residents in their homes.
  • Ensure All New Yorkers Have Safe and Healthy Housing: ensure that no one is permanently displaced due to poor housing conditions or harassment, secure our communities by ensuring the long-term viability of the city’s affordable housing stock, and guarantee that every New Yorker has a safe, healthy, and stable home.
  • Support Planning that Centers Local Knowledge Within a True Citywide Framework: Planning must meaningfully incorporate residents’ voices and create an equitable approach that centers fair housing and neighborhood priorities so that no single community can stand in the way of critical citywide needs, such as affordable housing development and homeless housing.

“Right to a Roof” follows a new report by the Community Service Society that identifies major weaknesses in the de Blasio Administration’s approach to housing over the past seven years.

As New York City begins to envision its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the movement for racial justice captures our national attention, the need for safe, healthy, and affordable housing for all New Yorkers has never been more dire. There is a tremendous political opportunity for the city to tackle this crisis, as New York City will be electing a new Mayor and City Council in 2021. The report urges new leadership to stand with community members in acknowledging housing as a human right and implementing creative programs to help rebuild our broken housing system.

The groups releasing the report will hold a virtual launch event featuring community members and advocates this evening, Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 6 pm.

“For far too long, New York City’s housing policies have failed to center the needs of low income and BIPOC communities, often reinforcing rather than resolving the impacts of a long history of structural racism,” said Barika X. Williams, Executive Director of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD). “We are done settling for bits and pieces, when what we need is a commitment to achieving the real goals – an end to homelessness, and safe, secure, affordable housing for all – in every facet of agency policy and budget prioritization.”

“In the middle of the pandemic, I was evicted from my apartment after asking my landlord for urgently-needed repairs. Since then, it’s been a nightmare trying to find an affordable place to live,” said Maria Pina, member of Make the Road New York Queens resident. “Low-income tenants like me face a grave lack of safe, affordable housing for decades, and the next Mayor needs to develop an integrated housing plan that puts our voices and needs first.”

“We know it is not by coincidence that people of color are more likely to live in impoverished neighborhoods and are often denied the right to the most basic need – a roof,” said Scott Short, CEO of RiseBoro Community Partnership. “We call on a new crop of leaders to invest in a holistic housing plan for NYC to end our city’s history of segregation and intentional oppression led by structural racism. We demand new investments and coordinated efforts to ensure that all New Yorkers can thrive in their neighborhoods and realize the right to a roof.”

"I have been living in the shelter system for over 5 years. Like so many others, I'm stuck here without a real pathway to find housing. I have a housing voucher that doesn't work because the amount it pays is too low to meet average rents in New York City. I've applied for housing through the City's affordable housing lottery, but few units exist for homeless New Yorkers." said Milton Perez, a member of VOCAL-NY. "I am sick and tired of being told my needs are not a priority. I am sick and tired of living in a shelter. The next Mayor must make it their goal to end homelessness and coordinate the City's agencies to do it."

“The legacy of the de Blasio administration clearly shows that we need a new approach to housing in this city,” said David R. Jones, President and CEO of the Community Service Society. “The next mayor must take a comprehensive approach to housing policy and use all the resources of city government to end the ongoing crises of homelessness, restore healthy conditions at NYCHA, and create housing that is affordable to those who need it most.”

"This devastating pandemic has reaffirmed our urgent need for safe and affordable housing for all New Yorkers," said Christie Peale Executive Director of the Center for NYC Neighborhoods. "New leadership for our city means a new opportunity to develop our housing strategy on a foundation of racial justice and community ownership and ensure equal access to security and asset building."

“Looking forward, New York City desperately needs a vision for affordable housing development that prioritizes public dollars and public resources towards housing development initiatives that benefit people with the highest need and least options; not private developers and maximum unit count. Only this housing agenda will effectively respond directly to the racial and economic disparity that continues to plague our City and our neighborhoods. Coordinated, creative solutions are required  to address the ever growing need for deep affordability and homelessness; whether through NYCHA, preservation, and new construction. The most reliable way to achieve this is through community-based solutions, including not-for-profit development and community control. This approach ensures a more equitable approach to affordable housing today and in perpetuity. Focusing resources based on need and working in partnership with not-for-profit developers and community residents is the right approach and long overdue.” said Ismene Speliotis, Executive Director of MHANY Management, Inc., a mutual housing association.

 

This report is a joint effort between the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD); the Center for New York City Neighborhoods (CNYCN); Community Service Society (CSS); Community Voices Heard (CVH); MHANY Management, Inc., a mutual housing association; Make the Road New York (MRNY); New York Communities for Change (NYCC); RiseBoro Community Partnership; and VOCAL-NY.

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