In response to extreme flooding caused by heavy rainfall on Friday, September 29th, 2023, Basement Apartments Safe for Everyone (BASE) coalition, of which CHPC is a member, released a statement, Executive Director Howard Slatkin submitted comments to the press, and CHPC’s prior reports on basement flood safety were referenced with regards to the regulatory barriers facing the basement apartment conversion pilot program in East New York.

Heavy rain pummeled New York City on Friday, leading to flash floods and prompting state of emergency declarations from both the mayor and the governor on what officials say was the wettest day the city’s seen since 2021, when deadly Hurricane Ida swept through.

Slatkin, of CHPC, said the problem boils down to “two interconnected, ongoing emergencies.”

“A lack of housing overall, and the inability to address the safety needs of basement apartments,” he explained. “The reason people are living in basements and cellars is because there aren’t enough other places for them to live.”

Article By Jeanmarie Evelly, Emma Whitford, and Daniel Parra

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A basement and cellar conversion pilot program launched in 2019 shows how challenging the project would be: Of the eligible homeowners in East New York and Cypress Hills, only a few made it to the planning phase, according to a report this year by the CHPC. By May 2023, only one single-family home had begun renovations. High costs and regulatory restrictions, including parking requirements, limited the pilot’s success, CHPC found.

Article By Kriston Capps and Sarah Holder

Read More in Bloomberg City Lab

A city pilot program meant to encourage the legalization of basement apartments is showing just how difficult that will be without state action, according to a new report from the Citizens Housing & Planning Council.

“This pilot has produced overwhelming evidence that cost-effective safety upgrades require changes to state and city regulations,” said CHPC Executive Director Howard Slatkin. “It is possible to make units safe, but the Multiple Dwelling Law, along with [the] zoning and building code, forbids it or makes it prohibitively expensive.”

Article By Eddie Small

Read More in Crain’s New York Business

People who live in [basements] worry that if they complain to the city about unsafe conditions they could lose their homes, said Howard Slatkin, the executive director of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council, a nonprofit housing group.

Finding ways to legalize and renovate these units, Mr. Slatkin said, could make them safer. But it would require eliminating outdated requirements, like those mandating that every legal unit has its own parking spot. State laws impose a slew of additional requirements — like rooftop parapets — on buildings that officially have multiple living units.

Article By Mihir Zaveri

Read more in the New York Times

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