Last week, New York City Mayor Eric Adams celebrated a “record-breaking year” for affordable housing.
“Today, we're making good on our Get Stuff Built and House Our Neighbors Initiative that we focused on, and we're smashing the records and connecting even more New Yorkers to affordable housing,” Adams said at an Aug. 3 press conference at Hudson Yards.
But one of the metrics the city uses to measure progress on affordable housing – the financing of deals for new construction and preservation of affordable units – is still lower than in recent years under Bill de Blasio.
As the mayor and his top housing officials proudly stated, the administration has overseen a significant increase in that figure over the past fiscal year. In fiscal year 2023, there was a 45% increase: 24,090 affordable housing unit starts, compared to 16,428 in fiscal year 2022.
But that figure still falls short of recent years. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development financed 29,388 affordable housing starts in fiscal year 2021 and 30,311 in fiscal year 2020.
City Hall spokesperson Charles Lutvak said that the conditions that created such a significant decline in affordable housing starts in fiscal year 2022 – including high interest rates and construction costs – are still present today. That the city managed a 45% increase despite those conditions is a triumph, he said.
At that press conference, the city also announced that the total affordable housing starts for fiscal year 2023 includes the second-highest number of new units funded in one year since 1976, when the city began tracking this data.
The financing of new construction and preserved units is not the only metric that the city looks at to measure progress on affordable housing; it also connected a record number of people to permanent housing through CityFHEPS vouchers last year, the administration said.
Meanwhile, Adams continues to press Albany for action on affordable housing, after the state Legislature declined to pass a replacement for 421-a and shot down Gov. Kathy Hochul’s attempts to mandate new production across the state. “We have repeatedly asked state lawmakers to assist in building more affordable homes, but they have been unable to pass any meaningful legislation,” Adams said at a press conference on the asylum-seeker crisis today.