New York City’s housing stock has failed to keep pace with job growth over the last decade and most newly created housing continues to be attainable only for higher-income residents. A panel of experts examined those trends, presented in a new report released Wednesday, and the policy choices that led to them, and recommended solutions that the city and state should adopt if they hope to mitigate a housing crisis that has been further exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Between 2010 and 2018, the number of jobs grew by 22% in the city and housing stock increased only 4%, according to the report released by Citizens Budget Commission, a nonprofit fiscal watchdog organization. The city issued fewer permits for new housing units in the last decade than in the 2000s and most of the new growth was concentrated in a few neighborhoods, the report found. The city’s per capita rate of issuing building permits was about 25 units for every 1,000 residents in that time, far below other cities, including those that already have high population densities. For instance, Seattle approved 126.9 units per 1,000 residents, Washington D.C. approved 71.2 and San Francisco approved 41. The report also found that housing production rates in suburbs such as Westchester, Rockland, Nassau, and Suffolk were some of the lowest across the U.S.

…  CHPC’s Katz sought to emphasize how the prevalence of overcrowded housing has been particularly detrimental during this pandemic, contributing to the spread of the virus. “In the housing business, we’re fond of saying housing is health care…We kind of use it as a catchphrase, but now I think it’s really viscerally hit home for people how really true that is,” she said, noting that the city does not have specific policies to target overcrowded households.

… Katz said that a comprehensive plan should include a focus on public housing, homelessness and reducing regulations so middle-income housing can be built without requiring deep government subsidies. But she also noted that allowing neighborhoods to play a strong role in development can allow NIMBYism to hamper the city’s plans. “The challenge with creating a comprehensive strategy is creating an even more uneven ability for neighborhoods to kind of self-determine their way out of any responsibility for new housing,” she said.

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