January 9, 2024
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces Next Phase in Long-Term Housing Strategy Will Focus on Increasing Housing Supply in New York City

Governor Hochul Announces Next Phase in Long-Term Housing Strategy Will Focus on Increasing Housing Supply in New York City

While Continuing Long-Term Statewide Housing Approach, Governor Hochul's 2024 State of the State Focuses on Urgent Need to Increase Housing Supply in New York City

Governor Will Propose Legislation to Incentivize New Construction, Encourage Affordable Housing in Office Conversions, Allow for More Flexibility in Residential Density, and Legalize Existing Basement and Cellar Apartments

New $500 Million Investment Would Advance Conversion of State-Owned Sites Into Up to 15,000 New Units of Housing Across New York State

Proposal to Strengthen Pro-Housing Communities Program Will Make the Certification a Requirement for Localities Statewide to Access Certain State Discretionary Funds

Governor Also Unveils New Strategies to Combat Discrimination Against Housing Applicants with Section 8 Vouchers and Affordable Housing Providers Seeking Insurance

New Online Tool Will Simplify and Streamline Affordable Housing Search Process

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the next phase of her long-term strategy to increase housing supply and affordability as part of her 2024 State of the State address. As the Governor continues her long-term goal to increase the housing supply statewide, the 2024 State of the State will focus on the urgent need to build more homes in the City of New York. This will include legislation to incentivize the construction of new housing; encourage office conversion projects to include affordable housing; allow the City to exceed the floor area ratio cap where appropriate; and legalize existing basement and cellar apartments. Governor Hochul also unveiled a plan to build up to 15,000 new units of housing on State-owned land statewide, strengthen the Pro-Housing Communities program across the state, and combat discrimination against low- and moderate-income New Yorkers and affordable housing providers.

“The obscenely high costs of rent and mortgages are caused by the unconscionable shortage of housing in New York. It’s one of the forces driving people out of our state,” Governor Hochul said. “Let's be honest with New Yorkers: the only thing that will solve the housing affordability crisis is building hundreds of thousands of homes. New Yorkers are tired of waiting, and so am I.”

“Here in New York City, we’ve established a moonshot goal of building 500,000 new homes by 2033, and we’ve made or introduced nearly every change in our power to ‘Get Stuff Built’ and ensure that all New Yorkers can afford to live here,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “We’re becoming a ‘City of Yes’ — yes to building on my block, yes to building in my neighborhood, yes to building in my community — but we can’t do it alone. With Governor Hochul’s support, we’re confident that our lawmakers will also say yes to the legislation that our city needs to address our housing crisis with the urgency New Yorkers demand.”

Together, these proposals build on the Governor’s commitment to addressing New York’s housing crisis by giving localities the tools they need to increase their housing supply, protecting current and prospective tenants, and making it even easier for New Yorkers to access and apply for affordable housing.

Incentivizing Construction of New Housing, Including Affordable Housing

The expiration of the 421-a tax abatement program in 2022 put the construction of an estimated 30,000 units of housing in New York City at risk. To avoid losing thousands of units of housing already under construction, Governor Hochul launched a pilot program in July 2023 to replicate the 421-a program’s benefits and obligations for projects located within the Gowanus rezoning area in Brooklyn that were already vested in the tax abatement program when it expired. As of December 2023, the Governor’s Gowanus program has received 19 applications that could yield up to 5,500 units of housing, including 1,400 units of affordable housing.

To help the City unlock the potential for thousands more rental units, Governor Hochul will propose legislation to allow New York City to offer a tax abatement for new rental construction to replace the expired 421-a program. The Governor will also propose a citywide extension of the completion deadline for the expired 421-a program to ensure the City does not lose out on tens of thousands of units of housing under projects that are currently vested in that program.

Encouraging Affordable Housing in Office Conversions

Office-to-residential conversions acknowledge the growing need for residential housing and the economic impact of remote work on commercial real estate in New York City. As office conversion projects come to fruition, New York City and New York State will continue to prioritize affordability.

Governor Hochul will propose legislation to allow New York City to offer a financial incentive for the construction of affordable housing units in office conversion projects.

Allowing the City to Exceed Floor Area Ratio Restrictions

For decades, New York State has placed a limit on residential density in New York City by capping the floor area ratio at 12.0, making it difficult to build new housing within the five boroughs. Governor Hochul will propose legislation to allow New York City to lift the cap on floor area ratio for certain projects to maximize housing construction, including affordable housing construction.

Legalizing Existing Basement and Cellar Apartments

In 2021, Hurricane Ida provided a tragic reminder of the need to legalize basement and cellar apartments, an important source of affordable housing within New York City. Governor Hochul will propose legislation to allow New York City to convert existing basement and cellar apartments into legal units, helping to increase supply and keep residents safe.

Accelerating the Redevelopment of State-Owned Sites for Housing
As part of a package of Executive Actions aimed at increasing New York’s housing supply statewide, Governor Hochul signed Executive Order 30 in July 2023 mandating that all State entities review lands in their ownership and control to determine whether they could be used to build or support new housing. Following the Governor’s Executive Order, state agencies identified publicly owned sites across New York State that could accommodate up to 15,000 new units of housing, including former correctional facilities, areas near commuter rail stations, and SUNY properties.

Governor Hochul has proposed a $500 million capital fund to support the development of these sites for housing and will seek an appropriation as part of her Executive Budget.

Strengthening the Pro-Housing Communities Program

Governor Hochul’s Executive Order to increase the housing supply also established the Pro-Housing Community Program to recognize and reward municipalities actively working to unlock their housing potential and encourage others to follow suit. Under the existing program, localities that have successfully unlocked housing growth or committed to taking important steps to support housing, such as by streamlining permitting and adopting pro-housing policies, and that have applied and submitted critical housing and zoning data to the state, would receive a certification from New York State Homes and Community Renewal that would prioritize them for up to $650 million in state discretionary funding. The discretionary funding programs include:

  • Downtown Revitalization Initiative, administered by the Department of State;
  • NY Forward, administered by the Department of State;
  • Regional Council Capital Fund, administrated by Empire State Development;
  • New York Main Street, administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal;
  • Market New York capital grants, administered by Empire State Development;
  • Long Island Investment Fund, administered by Empire State Development;
  • Mid-Hudson Momentum Fund, administered by Empire State Development; and
  • Public Transportation Modernization Enhancement Program, administrated by the Department of Transportation

Governor Hochul has proposed strengthening the Pro-Housing Communities Program by making the certification a requirement for localities to access these funding sources, increasing the incentive for communities to become proactive partners in building the housing necessary to support families and sustain affordability and growth.

Combating Housing Discrimination Against Affordable Housing Applicants and Providers

Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers provide federal rental and homeownership assistance that allows low- and moderate-income households in New York State to rent or purchase decent, safe homes. While it is against State law for a housing provider or a real estate professional to discriminate based on source of income – including the use of Section 8 vouchers – discrimination still occurs and impacts many low- and moderate-income families’ ability to find stable housing that they can afford.

At the same time, affordable housing often faces greater difficulty securing reasonably priced insurance than market rate housing. According to a report by the Department of Financial Services and HCR published last November, insurance premiums for affordable housing had increased by 43 percent between 2019 and 2021. Higher premium costs for affordable housing can be passed onto tenants; reduce the quality and frequency of building services, maintenance, and repairs; and ultimately keep affordable housing from being built or preserved.

Governor Hochul will direct the New York State Division of Human Rights, in partnership with HCR, to launch a new enforcement unit dedicated to swift resolution of complaints about housing discrimination related to Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. This Early Intervention Unit would help to resolve issues and place impacted individuals and families in available housing to which they had been impermissibly denied access based on their vouchers.

Governor Hochul will also propose legislation to prohibit insurance carriers from inquiring about or considering tenants' source of income, the existence of affordable dwelling units, or the receipt of governmental housing assistance in the decision to issue or continue to provide insurance for residential real property. The bill would also prohibit insurance carriers from increasing premiums on the basis of source of income, the existence of affordable dwelling units, or the receipt of governmental housing assistance.

Simplifying the Affordable Housing Search Process

Governor Hochul has directed HCR to develop a new public resource to streamline the affordable housing search process and make it easier for housing applicants to find safe, stable, affordable homes. The website will help New Yorkers find State-financed affordable units, determine if they qualify, and apply for those units, all in one place. Housing applicants will be able to search by need, including for accessible homes, homes for veterans, and survivors of domestic violence.

This new resource builds on Governor Hochul’s agenda to improve the customer experience for all New Yorkers and make it easier to access vital government benefits and services.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474-8418
New York City: (212) 681-4640

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