The Citizens Housing & Planning Council (CHPC) in New York has released its Housing Plan for a City of Immigrants, which explores how New York City’s next housing plan could be optimized to help the city’s immigrant communities thrive. The report is part of CHPC’s New Lens for NYC’s Housing Plan initiative, “a multi-year strategic visioning process meant to reframe the next New York City housing plan to look beyond a unit goal and address broader public policy concerns.” The plan recommends providing universally accessible rental assistance regardless of immigration status, incentivizing affordable-housing production in immigrant communities that are close to jobs and transit, allowing home conversions that provide for multi-generational households, and using housing policy to promote economic opportunity by, for example, easing rules on commercial activity on residential properties. The report is particularly timely as the COVID-19 has taken a disproportionate toll on immigrant workers in New York, said Jessica Katz, CHPC’s executive director, in a press release.

“The stakes of this crisis are massive not just for the millions of foreign-born New Yorkers who have always been the lifeblood of this city, but for the future of New York itself as it wrestles with the economic impacts of COVID,” Katz said, according to the release. “Without improving access to affordable housing for all New Yorkers, reimagining our housing stock to better suit the needs of a changing population, and adapting housing policy to foster economic growth in immigrant communities, we may lose some of the most diverse neighborhoods in the world, the majority of workers maintaining our infrastructure, billions of dollars in economic output, essential tax revenue and public services—and we will disrupt the stability and wellbeing of millions of families.”

As Next City previously reported, the “New Lens” series is meant to help officials consider the impact of the housing plan on various aspects of civic life, rather than just the sheer number of housing units available. Other “lenses” in the series include a feminist housing plan, a housing plan focused on racial equity, and a housing plan meant to promote public health.