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Adams Unveils New Housing Strategy, Sets Goal For 500,000 New Homes

New York City Mayor Eric Adams introduces his sweeping housing production reform at City Hall on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has revealed his long-awaited plan to address the city’s housing crisis, laying out a new, three-pronged strategy during a press conference Thursday.

Aiming for a “moonshot” of building 500,000 new homes over the next decade, Adams announced a series of actions, including 111 steps intended to remove bureaucratic barriers and streamline processes in the hopes of speeding housing production.

The plan, which was formulated by a task force Adams convened in June, is also intended to reduce development costs and cut project timelines in half. The “Get Stuff Built” initiative separates the actions into three buckets: “Build Faster,” “Build Everywhere” and “Build Together.”

“We need more housing, and we need it as fast as we can build it," Adams said in a statement. "The system has been broken for so long that we have come to view it as our reality. Our city declared a housing emergency five decades ago, yet we have failed to address it with the same urgency we would any other crisis. That ends now.”

The mayor has faced criticism over the past year for failing to address the housing crisis, as rents have skyrocketed to record levels amid a chronic undersupply of housing.

Adams' plan provides specific targets for financing and developing affordable and multifamily units with the private sector. The administration plans to create “a tax benefit that enables multifamily rental development while requiring affordable housing.”

Changes listed among the actions listed in the Adams administration’s official press release on the initiative include streamlining the pre-certification process for developments, which can delay projects for two years or longer before they can go through the city’s land review process. 

The administration also plans to exempt small housing projects that need land use approvals or public financing from completing an Environmental Assessment Statement, change its methodology for traffic analyses required for some developments and expand the Department of Buildings’ DOB NOW portal to create a single point of contact for applicants across all construction actions.

Additional priorities include expanding floor area ratios for affordable housing of all stripes; facilitating office and commercial-to-residential conversions; reducing parking requirements; and broadening the range of housing sizes and types, including legalizing basement apartments and other accessory dwelling units

Adams’ aspirational number — 500,000 units — far exceeds the ambitions of his predecessor. Then-Mayor Bill de Blasio set forth a goal in 2017 of 120,000 new housing units to be built and 180,000 to be preserved in the city through 2026.

Adams drew the ire of constituents and housing advocates in February when his $98B budget barely mentioned housing and he eschewed stating a unit production goal. In September, data showed that affordable housing production had dropped by 45% from July 2021 to this July, a period capturing de Blasio’s final six months and Adams’ first six.