New York has an extraordinary housing production goal, unparalleled among U.S. cities. Working in partnership with the housing industry, the City has committed to creating and preserving 300,000 affordable apartments by 2026. New York has become a highly efficient factory for generating affordable housing, with each successive housing plan promising an ever-increasing number of units.
When unit-counting is first and foremost, resource allocation and policy priorities are shaped to meet a quantitative goal, rather than to align policy with our values as a city and meet the greatest community needs.
Yet housing policy can have a far greater reach beyond developing a certain number of affordable housing units. Housing policy is about social justice, health, economic development, financial opportunity, stability and mobility, neighborhood revitalization, and many other key aspects of social, economic, and urban policy. An exclusive preoccupation with counting the number of affordable housing units can make us lose sight of the core values underpinning our policies, making it difficult to articulate to communities why the government is building housing in their neighborhoods. Advocates and low-income communities find themselves asking: What is the purpose of this plan? Who is benefiting and how?
When unit-counting is first and foremost, resource allocation and policy priorities are shaped to meet a quantitative goal, rather than to align policy with our values as a city and meet the greatest community needs. Despite the dire conditions of New York City’s public housing stock, NYCHA residents have largely been excluded from recent housing plans due to the “unit-counting” lens. Although basement apartment conversions are currently an inefficient and costly way to create new units, streamlining a pathway to conversions would advance financial stability for low-income homeowners and expand affordable housing options for underserved renters.
New York City’s current housing plan both benefits and suffers from its preoccupation with counting units. Unit counting is an effective metric for driving the gears of government towards a single, clear, quantifiable goal, but it loses the broader purpose of housing policy. The range of voices involved in crafting the housing plan has been restricted, and its limited focus has led to growing frustration and sentiment among communities that their needs are not being met.
The next housing plan provides an opportunity for communities and policymakers to widen the discussion, articulate new metrics, and develop a shared vision of housing policy for New York City.
A New Lens for NYC’s Housing Plan is an initiative by the Citizens Housing and Planning Council (CHPC) to explore this opportunity. CHPC is leading a strategic visioning process to reframe New York City’s next housing plan to look beyond a unit goal. Through research, interviews with housing policymakers and practitioners, stakeholder convenings, public events, and publications, CHPC is bringing new voices into the discussion around New York City’s housing policy and building excitement around new lenses that housing policy could use. CHPC’s multi-pronged engagement series will equip the next generation of policymakers in New York City with a menu of new ideas, approaches, policies, and metrics to build from.
CHPC’s A New Lens for NYC’s Housing Plan report series aims to demonstrate how New York City’s next housing plan could leverage the power of housing policy to advance a wide range of public policy goals, with each publication adopting a different “new lens.” First, data and analysis are used to articulate the needs that housing policy through the new lens could serve and the problems that it could help us solve, establishing clearly defined policy goals. The reports then lay out strategies and objectives for policy reform to advance those goals, illuminating what a housing plan through each new lens could look like.
CHPC hopes that by demonstrating the process of identifying needs, establishing goals, and developing strategies to advance them, the New Lens report series will help catalyze discussion around how the next housing plan could help us develop and advance a shared vision for the future.
In this plan, CHPC explores how a housing plan for LGBTQ+ communities could help better meet the needs of LGBTQ+ New Yorkers.
In this new publication, CHPC explores how a feminist housing plan could help create a more just and inclusive New York City for all New Yorkers.
CHPC’s housing plan for a city of immigrants takes a deep dive into the unmet needs of immigrant New Yorkers, establishes clearly defined policy goals, and lays out strategies to advance them.
Rx for Housing Plan explores how New York City’s next housing plan could address health disparities by prioritizing metrics that measure health outcomes, harnessing the power of housing policy to help New Yorkers build a healthy life.
CHPC’s issue brief examines how a housing plan that centers around green building principles could accelerate the city’s efforts to combat climate change.
CHPC’s issue brief examines why NYC needs a housing plan that leverages the power of housing policy to eliminate racial inequality from our housing stock and neighborhoods.
Released at the height of New York City’s COVID-19 pandemic, CHPC’s essay explores the connections between our health and our housing that this crisis has made clearer than ever.
CHPC webinar to share findings and recommendations from Feminist Housing Plan report with Christine Quinn.
CHPC webinar to present and discuss ways for housing policy to support the stability and success of immigrant New Yorkers.
CHPC policy discussion with Jay Pitter to explore what a feminist housing plan for New York City could look like.