Experts on housing finance and family homelessness joined the Max & Murphy Show to size up the issues that will confront the next mayor.
It was nearly eight years ago that candidate Bill de Blasio proposed his affordable housing plan for New York City. The story since then has been, to say the least, interesting. De Blasio delivered a multi-year rent freeze to stabilized tenants, renewed the city’s financial commitment to public housing, moved tens of thousands of homeless families to permanent apartments, signed a law creating a right to counsel in housing court, and built or preserved tens of thousands of housing units. He also engaged in costly battles over rezonings, struggled to come up with a plan to address surging shelter numbers, faced federal investigations over NYCHA’s lead scandal and managed to earn the enmity of landlords and most affordable-housing advocates alike.
It’s a complicated legacy he leaves his successor. One of de Blasio’s achievements, in fact, might be that he has made clear to the people running to replace him that the affordability issue, homelessness numbers and public-housing woes are not separate crises, but fundamentally interconnected facets of one big problem. The meta-lesson from de Blasio’s failures is that it makes no sense to talk about affordable housing, NYCHA and homelessness in isolation from one another.
On Wednesday’s Max & Murphy Show on WBAI, Rachel Fee of the New York Housing Conference and Raysa Rodriguez from Citizens’ Committee for Children talked about their efforts to get the 2021 mayoral candidates to acknowledge the intertwined problems and make real commitments to address them. Fee coordinates the United for Housing coalition, which has presented a simple, ambitious plan to all eight major mayoral hopefuls. Rodriguez is part of the Family Homelessness Coalition, which seeks to orient the city’s housing policy around the primary goal of getting parents and kids out of the shelters. (Full disclosure: The FHC funds City Limits’ coverage of family homelessness.)
Hear our conversation below, or listen to the full show, which includes some discussion of the state budget debate, the controversies surrounding Gov. Cuomo and the latest news from the 2021 campaign trail.