Governor Kathy Hochul has shifted her strategy on the housing crisis, withdrawing her legislative effort to mandate housing growth across the state as part of her 2024 agenda.
This change in direction comes in the wake of strong opposition in the state Legislature to her ambitious plan, which was aimed at addressing New York’s acute housing supply and affordability issues.
Despite facing setbacks last year, Hochul remains committed to addressing the housing crisis. She now focuses on executive actions, a pivot from her initial legislative approach.
Hochul’s original plan, the “New York Housing Compact,” had an ambitious goal to build 800,000 new homes over ten years, encompassing various initiatives, including a tax break replacement to boost rental housing development, with a significant portion dedicated to affordable housing.
However, the plan received mixed reactions, particularly the component mandating housing construction.
Experts considered it vital for resolving the state’s severe supply deficit, but it proved to be especially controversial in the suburbs of New York City.
The governor’s retreat from this transformative approach marks a significant setback for the pro-housing movement, which Hochul had been leading.
This decision appears to be influenced by broader political considerations.
With the 2024 elections approaching, Democrats, including Hochul, who narrowly won against Republican Lee Zeldin in the previous election, are cautious. They are wary of adopting policies that might prove politically detrimental in competitive races.
Avi Small, a spokesperson for Governor Hochul, reaffirmed the governor’s dedication to tackling the housing crisis.
“Like 73% of New Yorkers, Governor Hochul believes housing affordability is a major problem. The housing crisis is pushing New Yorkers out-of-state to Connecticut and New Jersey [who] have built thousands more homes over the last decade than New York has,” Small stated.
“That’s why Governor Hochul proposed the boldest plan in a generation to drive down housing costs by building more supply. After the Legislature flatly rejected it and failed to introduce a viable alternative, Gov. Hochul refocused her efforts on sweeping Executive Action that took effect in July,” he added.
Small continued, “Until the Legislature is ready to come back to the table with a serious approach to build more housing in New York, the Governor is focusing on using her executive powers to address the housing crisis.”
Public opinion reflects the urgency of the housing situation. A Marist College survey showed that a significant majority of urban (81%), suburban (69%), and rural (67%) residents in New York view the lack of housing as a serious problem.
The survey also showed that 71% believe the state government is not doing enough to address the affordable housing shortage.