NY City Council public hearing for the Housing Not Warehousing Act
Picture the Homeless announced the introduction of the Housing Not Warehousing Act – a package of three City Council bills:
* Intro 1034 will create a mandatory registry for all landlords holding their property vacant, with fines for failure to register.
* Intro 1036 is a City Council bill that would mandate an annual count of all vacant property in New York City.
* Intro 1039 would compile a list of all city, state, federally, and authority-owned vacant property suitable for the development of affordable housing, and recommend paths towards bringing these units to occupancy for affordable housing when possible.
Combined, these bills would be some of the strongest anti-warehousing legislation this city has ever seen. They are a crucial step to mitigate and solve the housing crisis and unparalleled level of homelessness in New York City.
Vacant properties are pervasive throughout New York City. In 2011, Picture the Homeless conducted a citywide count of vacant buildings and lots – and found enough potential housing for 199,981 people! New York City has spent years giving away its property assets to for-profit developers that have no intention of providing housing for extremely low income households, but a lot of land remains under the City’s control that is ripe for development.
“The city and landlords have been holding these properties for decades,” said PTH member Charmel Lucas. “This bill is a first step to putting families in permanent extremely low income housing. If New York City is truly dedicated to solving the housing crisis and eradicating homelessness, we need to know what resources we have and where people can live. One of the first easy steps to take is to find out where these properties are, who owns them, and create pathways for these vacancies to become housing for extremely low income households – the people who need it most!”
“Poor people instinctively know that we need truly-affordable housing and stable jobs,” said Rogers, a member of Picture the Homeless “Developers, builders, and speculators see vacant spaces as future wealth. That future wealth does us no good now, when people are hungry and starving and homeless. Identifying vacant spaces is part of measuring the resources of New York City, both real and potential.”
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