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New Council bill seeks to create more housing for homeless New Yorkers

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The bill would require buildings receiving city subsidies to set aside 15 percent of their units for homeless New Yorkers

Max Touhey

A new bill set to be introduced in the City Council today will require NYC buildings receiving city subsidies to set aside at least 15 percent of its units for homeless people. City Council member Rafael Salamanca Jr., is set to introduce that legislation later today, which could potentially set up a clash between the City Council and the Mayor’s office, according to the New York Times, which first reported on the bill.

The bill will require all rental buildings that receive any type of taxpayer subsidies like loans or abatements to set aside 15 percent of the homes for New Yorkers currently living in shelters across the city. At present, the de Blasio administration’s Housing New York 2.0 agenda—to create and preserve 300,000 affordable homes by 2026—calls for five percent of those homes to be set aside for homeless people.

The Times notes that since May 2017, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development has required developers to set aside 10 percent of the units in a particular development for those living in shelters, and in some cases between 30 to 60 percent of the units.

But with the city reeling from an affordable housing and homelessness crisis, City Council officials contend that more needs to be done. The bill already has the backing of City Council speaker Corey Johnson, which means it has a better chance of getting full City Council approval.

Officials in the administration contend that this policy would slow down the rate at which homeless New Yorkers get housing. They argue that other measures like rental assistance programs work better. City officials also told the Times that this bill may make it hard to finance new affordable housing as developers often rely on a mix of market-rate and affordable units when proposing new developments.

The bill may yet be tweaked before it lands up on the Mayor’s desk for his approval, and it remains to be seen if it garners the support of other City Council members.