Maya’s Housing Plan for a Just and Livable City

No single issue facing our city is more pressing, more urgent or more complex than the need for safe, livable and affordable housing. We are in an affordability crisis in our city, a crisis that existed long before the pandemic but has now accelerated over the past year. Whatever the challenges, Maya Wiley knows this to be true: Housing is a human right, and we must do everything we can to make that right a reality for all New Yorkers.

 

New York City faces a housing crisis that is fundamentally an affordability crisis. New York City is too expensive for too many. It has virtually no housing that our essential workers, like home health aides and grocery store clerks, can afford. It is so hard to find an affordable apartment that homelessness has been at a record high. Homelessness is an eviction crisis and far too many residents of our city live on the precipice of eviction. Today, over 400,000 New Yorkers are on the verge of eviction and more than a million are rent-burdened. It’s time to break the cycle.

 

Lack of affordable housing and housing instability leads to poverty, poor health outcomes, racial segregation, gender inequality, and poor educational outcomes. It is the single most defining challenge for all New Yorkers and, as we work to ensure an equitable recovery from this pandemic, we must place housing at the very center of our plans to rebuild our city into a stronger, safer, fairer, more just and more livable place for all. From evictions to affordability to homelessness, it is time for bold, transformative plans to address every aspect of our housing crisis. Maya Wiley has the vision necessary to solve these crises and usher in a new era of affordability and housing justice.

 

At the center of this plan is recognition of the fact that housing affordability and homelessness are two sides of the same coin, for those who experience homelessness and for those on the precipice. That is why Maya Wiley is proposing a sweeping housing package to make New York City the most affordable big city in the country. Under this proposal, the Wiley Administration will guarantee that all New Yorkers making under $54,000 (family of three) pay no more than 30% of their income on rent, ensuring that New Yorkers who make this City run can actually afford to live here.

 

To ensure affordable housing is accessible to all New Yorkers, a Wiley administration will:

 

  • End the cruelty of street homelessness and radically decrease family and single adult homelessness.
  • Make affordable housing truly affordable.
  • Keep public housing public.
  • Maintain and expand homeownership and wealth-building in communities that have been left out.

 

To end the cruelty of homelessness and radically decrease homelessness, we will:

 

  • Act immediately and cut off a key feeder to the shelter system—evictions—by enforcing a strong eviction moratorium for the duration of the pandemic and ensuing economic crisis.
  • Fix the glaring holes in recent reforms to the City’s Rental Assistance vouchers, expanding protections for New Yorkers and fighting for State funding.
  • End discrimination by landlords against renters who use government subsidies and renters with a history of involvement with the criminal justice system.
  • Create an aftercare system that prevents a return to homelessness.
  • Create an adequate supply of permanent supportive housing to reduce the single adult shelter population and street homelessness.
  • Move aggressively to acquire and convert hotels and other distressed properties into permanent supportive housing.
  • Provide tailored support to domestic violence survivors, who are often negotiating trauma while raising children, and specialized solutions for the LGBTQ+ population.

 

To make affordable housing truly affordable, we will:

  • Usher in a new era of housing affordability by ensuring that the City only invests public money or land where there is a clear public benefit.
  • Guarantee affordable rent for all individuals and families making 50% or less of the  Area  Median  Income  (AMI), ensuring they do not pay more than 30% of their income on rent.
  • Aggressively expand the City’s Rental Assistance program so it becomes an effective tool to ensure affordability long-term.
  • Dramatically expand and preserve the supply of affordable housing in the city by building 100% permanently affordable housing on public land and use public funding as a tool to promote equity, not private benefit.
  • Create a Community Land Bank to help provide the funding of our new era of a just and livable New York.

 

To keep public housing public, we will:

  • Make $2 billion in critical investments in and changes to NYCHA that preserve it as the City’s most reliable source of affordable housing, led by NYCHA residents themselves.
  • Improve the quality and habitability of housing at NYCHA by integrating it into the City’s code enforcement.
  • Invest in NYCHA residents by creating real and robust resident engagement programs, support for families, and economic opportunity for at-risk youth.
  • End the gun violence disparities in and around NYCHA by solving crime, and by addressing the root causes of crime, expanding the use of violence interrupters and direct these resources  to NYCHA’s most vulnerable developments, and by solving crime. 

 

To expand homeownership and wealth-building, we will:

 

  • Expand opportunities for New Yorkers to become owners, helping them build wealth and capital, while creating protections against further gentrification, segregation, and marginalization.
  • Give struggling low-and middle-income homeowners needed support to keep their homes by reforming the Tax Lien Sale and creating naturally affordable housing through Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Conversions.
  • Support first time homeowners in accessing better financial terms to support their long-term financial sustainability and reduce costs by providing down payment assistance and creating new avenues to homeownership through the use of Community Land Trusts.
  • Create opportunities for renters and communities to purchase properties, gain equity, and invest in where they live. 

 

Housing is a human right. That statement is more than a catchphrase or an ideal to be reached, but a governing principle by which we must abide. As Mayor, Maya Wiley will usher in a new era of housing justice for New York City, one in which homelessness is addressed, not brushed aside or shuffled around, in which affordable housing is truly and permanently affordable, in which homeownership is within reach for renters and communities of color,  and in which every New Yorker has the opportunity to live with dignity in a safe, secure, and affordable home.