Pathways to Social Housing in New York: 20 policies to shift from private profit to public good by Oksana Mironova, Samuel Stein, Celeste Hornbach, Jacob Udell

Three years into the pandemic, rents in New York City have reached new heights. One of the root causes of this crisis is that for decades, landlords have placed heavy financial bets on both deferred maintenance and rising rents. As a result, rental housing is vulnerable to shocks like the COVID-19 pandemic. Without a major intervention, our current housing and lending policies create an environment for further waves of gentrification and displacement. This report outlines an alternative future, sketching out 20 policies that directly address this vulnerability. These policies would work in tandem to shield our housing from the worst aspects of speculative investment and put New York on a path to social housing transformation.

UNHP’s Director of Research and Data, Jacob Udell is one of the authors of the CSS report. For 40 years, UNHP has worked to create and preserve affordable housing in the Bronx with a citywide impact. The affordable housing crisis in NYC is not new, but it is growing. UNHP sees firsthand from our work with Bronx tenants and with community-controlled multifamily housing that the demand and need for decent multifamily rental housing have never been more urgent. As a mission-based developer, UNHP oversees 27 affordable multifamily buildings each held in a nonprofit corporation. The properties take on debt when necessary, reinvest revenues back into the building to ensure good housing quality, keep rents within the bounds of affordability agreements and work with tenants as needed to connect them to supports and programs. This model is cited in the report and requires ongoing attention and advocacy to keep the buildings in decent conditions in the midst of cumbersome regulations and increasing operating costs. Our work to keep these properties affordable can be found here.  UNHP supports policies that will result in the ongoing creation of mission-based housing as outlined in this report.