Housing Our Neighbors With Dignity Act Passes Both Legislatures

June 24, 2021

Photo by Matthis Volquardsen from Pexels

The Housing Our Neighbors With Dignity Act has successfully passed in both the Senate and Assembly. 

The bill would allow non-profit building owners to sell their properties to NY State in order for them to be converted into affordable housing for homeless and low-income individuals. Eligible properties include distressed hotels with fewer than 150 units and vacant office spaces. The spaces will be made available in a 50/50 split for individuals who are homeless/ are living in shelters, and for individuals who are making less than 80% of the area median income. With $100 million, New York’s Housing Trust Fund Corporation will be tasked with financing and redeveloping the purchases. Although $100 million is a good foundation, the project will necessitate added federal funding that could potentially be taken out of the federal pandemic relief coming to New York. 

This bill comes after the pandemic forced the shutdown of thousands of commercial properties, especially hotels and offices, with 20% now at risk for permanent closure. 

Converting both office spaces and hotels, however, will come with some challenges. Building codes and zoning ordinances require a specific amount of space behind hotels for apartments, for example, which most in the city do not have. Office spaces often do not have the same amount of natural light as apartments do, and thus will require added construction. 

Sponsored by: Michael Gianaris (D, WF) 

  • Co-sponsors: Alessandra Biaggi (D, WF), Jabari Brisport (D, WF), Samra G Brouk (D, WF), Robert Jackson (D, WF) 

Timeline: now waiting for Governor Cuomo’s signature.

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