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What They Are Saying: New Yorkers Back Mayor Adams' Historic Effort to Build "A Little More Housing in Every Neighborhood"

September 26, 2023

Most Significant Pro-Housing Reform Ever to City Zoning, Mayor Adams’ “City of Yes for Housing Opportunity” Plan Earns Praise from Key Elected Officials, Community Boards, Unions, Experts, Faith Groups, and Advocates

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams recently launched “City of Yes for Housing Opportunity,” an urgent, groundbreaking effort to tackle the city’s persistent and severe housing shortage and enduring affordability crisis by enabling the creation of “a little more housing in every neighborhood” and making New York a city that working people can again afford to live in.

See below for what they are saying:

“I wholeheartedly commend Mayor Eric Adams for his visionary and ambitious ‘City of Yes for Housing Opportunity’ initiative. In the face of our city’s deep-rooted housing crisis, it’s heartening to witness such a bold step forward, aiming to ensure every New Yorker, regardless of background or income, has a secure and affordable place to call home,” said New York State Senator Luis Sepúlveda. “This is not just about buildings and zoning; it’s about creating vibrant communities, bolstering our city’s economic backbone, and laying the groundwork for a brighter future for all. This historic effort is a testament to what’s possible when we prioritize the needs and aspirations of our residents. Let’s come together to make New York a city of opportunity, inclusivity, and yes — a city of homes for all.”

 “New York’s housing crisis is deep and dire — and there is not just one solution that will fix it. We must do all that we can, in every way we can, to tackle this crisis, and I applaud Mayor Adams and his administration for these bold steps towards increasing our city’s housing availability and affordability,” said New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “I will continue working with my colleagues in Albany to do the same across our entire state.”

“In the heart of our city’s housing challenge, the ‘City of Yes’ is the resounding answer we’ve been seeking. This bold commitment, set forth by Mayor Adams, envisions a brighter, more inclusive future where all New Yorkers can thrive,” said New York State Senator Robert Jackson. “Housing will serve as a bridge to opportunity rather than a barrier. This isn’t just a plan; it’s New York City’s pledge to build a city that says, ‘Yes’ to dreams, ‘Yes’ to affordability, and ‘Yes’ to all who call it home.”

“New York City’s accelerating housing shortage and ongoing affordability issues require urgent, bold, and sustainable action, which Mayor Adams is delivering through the most significant pro-housing reforms to our city’s zoning code in history,” said New York State Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn. “New Yorkers deserve equitable and affordable access to housing and need to stop being displaced from their communities and homes due to skyrocketing prices. The ‘City of Yes’ is a win-win solution, creating substantial affordable housing and good-paying jobs to uplift our working-class communities across New York.”

“Mayor Adams’ ‘City of Yes for Housing Opportunity’ is an arsenal of innovative solutions for us to reach our goal of half a million new homes. The mayor came from a place of opportunity and vision to develop a plan utilizing every available square inch for housing: increased density for permanently affordable housing, shared living spaces, housing atop commercial spaces, greater density at transit hubs, office conversions, accessory dwelling units, and infilling campuses,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “The plan will generate 300,000 jobs and $60 billion that will go into the pockets of New Yorkers so they can pay the rent. In a city where half of renters are rent-burdened and 85,000 homeless individuals are in our shelter system, Mayor Adams’ plan will create the housing and jobs we need to make our city affordable for all New Yorkers. I look forward to partnering with him at the state level to ensure all New Yorkers have housing.”

“For years, New Yorkers have been buckling under the weight of increasing rents, forcing many to move out of their neighborhoods or out of the city entirely,” said New York State Assemblymember Tony Simone. “This pro-housing plan is a necessary step towards solving the housing crisis: increasing supply, incentivizing affordability, and building around transit. We need all these policies and more to ensure New York is a livable city for everyone.”

“New York City’s housing crisis has now pushed average rents in Manhattan to over $5,500 — this is unsustainable,” said Manhattan Borough President Levine. “We need to build more housing — especially affordable housing — and in order to do that, we have to take bold, comprehensive action. That includes updating our zoning regulations so that we can remove unnecessary hurdles, create new incentives for affordable units, open up opportunities to build more kinds of apartment arrangements, and prioritize housing over parking. I am excited to review ‘City of Yes for Housing Opportunity’ and help ensure that it delivers the housing that New Yorkers need.”

“With thousands of New Yorkers across the five boroughs struggling to keep a roof over their heads and thousands more languishing in our shelter system, the city must move with the urgency of now to build as much affordable housing as quickly and responsibly as possible. There is no time to waste in addressing this generational, intersectional crisis and investing in the future of our families,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “As the land use process begins, I look forward to working jointly with our city partners and Queens residents to ensure this proposal is as community-focused, community-centric, and community-informed as possible.”

“The housing crisis that has exacerbated homelessness and made our city less affordable demands comprehensive solutions. We welcome Mayor Adams and City Planning’s encouraging and thoughtful proposals as a starting point towards critical changes that will help us equitably produce more housing across the city to confront these challenges. Housing and zoning policies have historically furthered economic and racial segregation, deepened inequities, and locked communities out of opportunities. That’s why it is imperative that our city’s policies and zoning align to achieve housing growth through the lens of equity and access, accompanied by investments in economic opportunity, schools, transit, healthcare, and other institutions that help stabilize communities,” said New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “The council is committed to advancing the necessary changes through a citywide text amendment and complementary strategies, including my Fair Housing Framework and increased affordability, to confront our housing crisis. We look forward to conducting a thorough review of the proposals in these preliminary scoping documents and continuing discussions with the administration and all stakeholders throughout this process to successfully advance the city’s housing needs. Delivering results for New Yorkers will require actions at the city level, along with essential contributions from our state and federal partners.”

“It’s no secret that New York City is in a housing crisis. However, working together, we can add a little housing in every neighborhood and create a big impact,” said New York City Council Majority Leader Keith Powers. “I look forward to working with the Adams administration to add some much-needed housing in my district — as we’re already doing in Midtown South — and beyond.”

“I want to commend Mayor Adams for standing up for housing,” said New York City Councilmember Shaun Abreu. “Before I became a councilmember, I was a tenant lawyer, fighting for families to stay in their homes. But before I was a tenant lawyer, I was a kid that got evicted from his home. I know what it’s like to watch your mom cry over an eviction notice. I know what it’s like to wonder where you’re going to sleep next week. No family should have to go through what my family went through. The only way to solve our housing crisis is to build more housing. Every neighborhood has a role to play. Yes, we are going to build affordable housing. Yes, we are going to take care of our families. Yes, we are going to make sure every New Yorker has a safe place to call home.”

“We can and must resolve New York City’s housing crisis, and we can do so by removing obstacles that get in the way of building new housing. I applaud Mayor Adams for taking additional steps to help address our housing shortage,” said New York City Councilmember Oswald Feliz. “This initiative will open the door for the construction of new affordable housing that will help ensure our city continues to be affordable for the hardworking families of our New York City.”

“I am in full support of Mayor Adams’ ‘City of Yes for Housing Opportunity’ initiative as a pivotal move to address our city’s housing crisis — it is crucial that we proceed with a mindful approach to environmental considerations,” said New York City Councilmember Kamillah M. Hanks. “The development of additional homes and conversion of spaces should align with sustainable practices to ensure the long-term well-being of our communities and the environment. Balancing housing accessibility with ecological responsibility is key to fostering a truly resilient and inclusive New York City.”

“From skyrocketing rents to rampant displacement of communities across the five boroughs, New York City’s housing crisis demands urgent action. The mayor’s ‘City of Yes’ plan includes a number of important proposals to meet this moment, including the legalization of accessory dwelling units, which will formalize affordable housing that immigrant New Yorkers have long relied upon” said New York City Councilmember Shekar Krishnan. “These units and their tenants have long needed protection. I’m encouraged by this and other proposals, and I look forward to building a fairer, more affordable city for all New Yorkers.”

“Parking requirements add significant costs to new housing construction at the expense of affordable apartments, retail spaces, and our climate future. I strongly support the elimination of parking requirements,” said New York City Councilmember Lincoln Restler. “The 33rd District has been home to more housing starts than any other area in New York City, and I broadly support the proposed efforts to build a little more housing in every community but will push to ensure more of the housing generated is truly affordable for working families.”

“This is a bold proposal from Mayor Adams to help address our housing crisis,” said Michael Racioppo, district manager, Brooklyn Community Board 6. “Brooklyn Community Board 6 overwhelmingly supported new and affordable housing in the Gowanus Rezoning, which was the first major rezoning in a majority-white district. This proposal recognizes that every neighborhood must do its part to help make New York affordable.”

“The Adams administration’s ‘City of Yes’ proposal goes a long, long way toward addressing two enormous challenges facing New York City: the need for more — and more affordable housing and the climate crisis,” said Eric McClure, chair, Brooklyn Community Board 6; and executive director, StreetsPAC. “By asking and enabling every neighborhood to create a little more housing, the plan spreads responsibility and opportunity, and by facilitating housing construction — especially near transit — and doing away with antiquated and harmful parking mandates, these zoning changes will greatly help reduce reliance on cars. We enthusiastically say, ‘yes’ to ‘City of Yes!’”

“Mayor Adams’ ‘City of Yes’ initiative is a significant step towards addressing our housing crisis while promoting responsible development,” said Joseph Geiger, executive secretary-treasurer, New York City District Council of Carpenters. “On behalf of our more-than-20,000 members, I applaud Mayor Adams for this historic effort and look forward to working together to build a better New York.”

“Access to affordable housing is the number one barrier for working families. Too many New Yorkers have been pushed out of their once-stable homes, out of their neighborhoods and onto the streets,” said Henry A. Garrido, executive director, DC 37. “We applaud Mayor Adams for taking an aggressive approach to updating antiquated zoning laws that prohibit the expansion of desperately needed housing on every corner of the city.”

“HTC is proud to support bold initiatives that will address the unsustainable cost of housing head-on,” said Rich Maroko, president, Hotel & Gaming Trades Council (HTC). “One of the single biggest issues our members face is the lack of affordable housing options within commuting distance of their job. We applaud Mayor Adams for taking action to jump-start housing development, and we’re proud to support this proposal.”

“New York City's housing crisis is real, and it is especially problematic for low-income New Yorkers, who increasingly have fewer or no options to move into affordable housing,” said Richard R. Buery, Jr., CEO, Robin Hood; and co-chair, “New” New York panel. “Dismantling exclusionary zoning laws, increasing the supply of affordable rental housing units, converting office space into residential dwellings, and moving New Yorkers from shelters into permanent housing are all urgently needed and welcomed reforms for an imbalanced housing market that continues to erode livability in New York City. The mayor’s plan, ‘City of Yes for Housing Opportunity,’ is a decisive first step in the right direction.”

“Despite years of valiant efforts, New York City has failed to construct enough housing to meet the needs of its growing population and its booming economy. We applaud Mayor Adams and his administration for introducing the far-reaching ‘City of Yes for Housing Opportunity’ proposal, which offers pathways for every community across the city to do its part to solve our housing crisis,” said Chris Cirillo, executive director and president, Ascendant Neighborhood Development Corporation. “We look forward to working with our city government partners, other affordable housing providers, and residents of the neighborhoods we serve to advance this proposal as quickly as possible.”

“The need for bold ideas and courageous leadership that addresses the key constraints preventing the city from meeting all New Yorkers' housing needs is urgent. Achieving the ‘City of Yes for Housing Opportunity’s’ goals is vital to New York City’s future,” said Michelle de la Uz, executive director, Fifth Avenue Committee. “As a nonprofit community development corporation serving thousands of New Yorkers who desperately need to obtain or maintain decent, affordable housing, Fifth Avenue Committee is committed to working with the Adams administration and other stakeholders to ensure the ‘City of Yes’ advances equity and inclusion as it increases our much-needed housing supply.”

“RPA is thrilled to see so many smart reforms together in one housing package,” said Moses Gates, vice president of housing and neighborhood planning, Regional Plan Association (RPA). “Transit-oriented development, accessory dwelling units, and ending parking minimums are among many proposals that RPA has long advocated for and are so pleased to see their time has come in New York City. We are encouraged by the bold platform of the Adams administration and applaud the mayor’s efforts to get this done.”

“We applaud Mayor Adams and his team for confronting a housing supply crisis that threatens to undermine New York City’s economic future,” said Basha Gerhards, senior vice president of planning, Real Estate Board of New York. “Updating antiquated zoning rules will remove barriers to building desperately needed housing, especially affordable housing, in every neighborhood.”

“We can’t solve New York City’s housing affordability crisis when fighting over every piece of land and each individual building. We need citywide and statewide solutions, and the new ‘City of Yes for Housing Opportunity’ initiative presents a unique opportunity to do just that,” said Annemarie Gray, executive director, Open New York. “The proposed changes to New York City’s outdated zoning code are comprehensive and common-sense measures to ensure every neighborhood in the city takes part in solving our dire housing shortage. For far too long, many of the most well-resourced parts of the city have been de facto off-limits to new residents. We look forward to working with the mayor, the City Council, and other stakeholders to finally change that and ensure that the city fully embraces this opportunity to put us on the path to housing abundance.”

“The addition of accessible housing in every neighborhood ensures New Yorkers in Queens, and across the boroughs, can live and thrive in the greatest city in the world,” said Thomas J. Grech, president and CEO, Queens Chamber of Commerce. “Improving and modernizing the city’s zoning protocols will help catalyze the revitalization of our city and help current and future business owners succeed. We are grateful for the efforts of Mayor Eric Adams for his work on the ‘City of Yes for Housing Opportunity’ proposal.”

“The greatness of the City of New York derives in great measure from our capacity to adapt and change. At this moment of great challenge and great opportunity, we are inspired by the Adams administration’s visionary plans to live up to New York’s potential to be a home for all of us, not just for some,” said Marc L. Greenberg, executive director, Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing. “The mayor has put out the call, and now it is up to every neighborhood to answer. The Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing works with women and men who love this city but who are struggling to afford the cost of housing themselves and their families. We stand with our faith and community partners in every neighborhood to ensure that local voices are at the table in determining how this vision is best implemented in a way that serves all New Yorkers, including the most vulnerable. God is in the details. We are confident that together, we will find a way to ensure that all New Yorkers have an opportunity to live and thrive in our ‘City of Yes.’”

“These proposed reforms to existing zoning rules would represent a significant step forward in addressing some of the deepest root causes of our city’s housing crisis,” said Baaba Halm, vice president and New York market leader, Enterprise Community Partners. “A substantial increase in housing supply is paramount in any serious proposal, and we are particularly encouraged by the parts of the plan specifically focused on encouraging more affordable housing, which remains the most pressing need.”

“For too long, New York City’s zoning laws have prioritized housing cars over housing people. To confront both the housing and the climate crises, New York City must put people first by repealing decades-old parking mandates that drive up the cost of housing, encourage more car ownership, and worsen our air quality,” said Danny Harris, executive director Transportation Alternatives. “We applaud the proposed changes to New York City’s zoning laws and look forward to working with Mayor Adams to complement new housing with safe, sustainable, and protected bike and bus lanes.”

“We support the mayor’s initiative to increase housing supply in New York City,” said Karen Haycox, CEO, Habitat for Humanity New York City and Westchester County. “To gain additional housing across every neighborhood is a step towards keeping our housing crisis from becoming a housing catastrophe. Transforming this initiative into an actionable plan should be the highest priority of elected officials, city agencies, as well as for-profit and nonprofit developers.”

“This is leadership! By making one straightforward zoning change — full, citywide elimination of residential parking mandates — New York City can begin to reverse housing, livability, and climate harms forced on us for decades,” said Sara Lind, co-executive director, Open Plans. “We applaud the Department of City Planning and Mayor Adams for their clear-eyed determination to make the city a better place for all New Yorkers. By subtracting parking mandates from our zoning code, we add affordable housing, cleaner air, and more people-centered streets to our city. We look forward to a future where generations of New Yorkers benefit from this simple calculation.”

“As currently structured, New York City’s zoning system simply does not allow for the scale of housing production residents need, and the result is that countless residents are living in housing insecurity across the five boroughs,” said Jolie Milstein, CEO and president, New York Association for Affordable Housing. “The ‘City of Yes for Housing Opportunity’ will close that gap and allow New York to create affordable, sustainable communities for all. It will eliminate unnecessary parking requirements, meaning New York will be able to create housing on land that would have been otherwise underutilized. Transit-oriented development ensures that housing units are built in convenient locations for New Yorkers, while promoting a more sustainable and walkable city. This is exactly the kind of policy we need to move our city forward and create the housing New Yorkers deserve. We congratulate the Adams administration on this proposal and look forward to turning it into a reality.”

“As a bustling, transit-rich neighborhood constantly searching for ways to increase affordability, the ‘City of Yes for Housing Opportunity’ will give neighborhoods like ours the tools it needs to spur affordable housing, at a time when meaningful reform is critical,” said Regina Myer, president, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “This monumental initiative will make Downtown Brooklyn and other mixed-use neighborhoods more accessible to residents, workers, and visitors by tackling the housing shortage and affordability crisis head-on. We applaud Mayor Eric Adams for his leadership on this important issue and look forward to working with this administration to unlock the potential here in Brooklyn and across the city.”

“We’re happy to see Mayor Adams put forward a comprehensive vision for what a stable, affordable New York City could look like,” said Christie Peale, CEO, Center for New York City Neighborhoods. “The Center for New York City Neighborhoods is dedicated to making New York City fairer and more inclusive through affordable homeownership and strongly supports the mayor’s efforts to legalize and build accessory dwelling units as well as develop low-density, middle-class homes that are sorely needed to stabilize and expand equitable homeownership in New York City.”

“There is no single answer to our housing crisis, but building more affordable housing must be part of the solution,” said Christine C. Quinn, president and CEO, Win. “I applaud Mayor Adams and his administration for taking on the daunting challenge of New York City’s zoning and working to create an additional 100,000 homes that will house over 250,000 New Yorkers. Sustainable and inclusive policies like this will help New York become the ‘City of Yes’ and break the cycle of homelessness for our most vulnerable neighbors.”

“Enacting the ‘City of Yes for Housing Opportunity’ plan is critical if we are going to address our housing shortage and make housing more affordable for New Yorkers,” said Grace Rauh, executive director, 5BORO Institute. “We applaud the mayor and Department of City Planning for this bold proposal, and we look forward to making sure these common-sense housing reforms are adopted so more New Yorkers can remain in the city they love and would-be New Yorkers can afford to come here to pursue their dreams.”

“The Citizens Budget Commission supports Mayor Adams’ ‘City of Yes’ proposal to update New York City’s zoning to allow more housing to be built everywhere,” said Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) President Andrew S. Rein. “Boosting production citywide is key to helping solve our housing crisis. CBC research shows that housing growth rates in most New York City neighborhoods rank among the lowest in the country. The ‘City of Yes’ text amendment’s multiple strategies are what is needed to increase the development opportunities throughout the city and help make New York a more affordable and attractive place to live and work. We urge other city and state officials to help make this proposal a reality. Fully solving our housing crisis also depends on the state updating outdated laws and regulations that hinder New York City’s growth, including by lifting the 12 FAR cap and by passing a successor to 421-a.”

“Breaking Ground applauds the reforms proposed in the mayor’s ‘City of Yes’ announcement,” said Brenda Rosen, president and CEO, Breaking Ground. “Homelessness and housing affordability are deeply intertwined. We have to make it easier to build more housing and especially to create more permanent, deeply affordable apartments, and these changes provide a reasonable path forward to achieve those goals.”

“‘A little more housing in every neighborhood’ is a big step forward for our city’s quest for affordability and accessibility for all New Yorkers. As such, the New York Building Congress strongly supports and applauds Mayor Adams, Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer, and City Planning Director Dan Garodnick for their ‘City of Yes for Housing Opportunity’ plan, a common-sense approach to addressing the city’s zoning-based housing challenges,” said Carlo A. Scissura, Esq., president and CEO, New York Building Congress. “This initiative unlocks small-scale housing growth citywide through subtle yet impactful changes that may go unnoticed individually but collectively unlock the potential for 100,000 new homes. Our members stand ready to build them. Now we need our legislative partners in Albany to seize on this momentum and pass much-needed reforms to supplement the gains of this plan and pull us out of this housing crisis.”

“In the midst of one of the most challenging housing crises New York City has ever seen, the city needs bold action and a multi-pronged strategy to alleviate the pressure,” said Scott Short, CEO, RiseBoro Community Partnership. “Mayor Adams and his team presented a comprehensive and sensible set of solutions to build more housing and overcome some of the byzantine zoning barriers that are contributing to the crisis. I applaud the mayor and stand ready to assist.”

“We applaud Mayor Adams for advancing the ‘City of Yes for Housing Opportunity,’ which at once addresses the severe housing shortage in our city while also presenting a clear roadmap toward a greener, more sustainable and equitable future for all New Yorkers,” said Alia Soomro, deputy director of New York City policy, New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV). “We are especially pleased with the proposals to eliminate parking mandates and encourage more transit-oriented development, two NYLCV priorities that will help create a more vibrant, inclusive, and environmentally friendly city.”

“As chair of the mayor’s Working Group on Faith-Based Affordable Housing and Community Development, Bricks and Mortals is excited for faith-based organizations to continue to play an integral role in supporting New Yorkers through the implementation of the ‘City of Yes plan’ — and through additional policies that expand faith-based affordable housing development opportunities and other support programs,” said Kate Toth, executive director, Bricks and Mortals. “And personally, I’m excited to see the faith-based organizations be empowered to maximize their buildings and better serve their communities.”

“The Adams administration is proposing a suite of zoning initiatives that, if approved, will greatly contribute toward increasing the production of new housing that is desperately needed to address the housing crisis facing New York City and its residents,” said Barak Wrobel, partner in the New York land use and zoning practice, Holland & Knight LLP. “Reducing parking requirements and increasing density for affordable housing projects will make it more feasible and less costly to construct new units. We are looking forward to the details of the plan and fully support innovative approaches surrounding shared living, infill development, accessory dwelling units, conversion of office space, and transit-oriented development in lower-density neighborhoods being taken by the administration and City Planning in an effort to address outdated zoning regulations and rules that are no longer serving the needs of our growing, developing, and evolving city.”

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