Mayoral contender Andrew Yang unveiled an ambitious $32 billion plan to build affordable housing Wednesday, vowing to create and preserve 250,000 units within eight years if elected.
Yang reiterated his intention to make the Big Apple the “anti-poverty” city, but stressed it would be impossible to do that without creating more housing for poor and middle-class New Yorkers “across every neighborhood in all five boroughs.”
Yang plans to spend $4 billion annually on the plan — some of which would come from the approximately $15 billion in federal stimulus money the city expects to receive. The total projected bill, $32 billion, would pay for the creation and preservation of 250,000 new affordable apartments, at a clip of about 30,000 units a year.
“This will be the most since Ed Koch,” said Yang, name-checking the former mayor who cemented his reputation by building up the city’s affordable housing stock. “In many ways, the task ahead for us is tougher than what Mayor Koch faced. He was the first mayor after the fiscal crisis of the mid-’70s, and Ed Koch benefited from lower land prices and a giant store of city-owned properties.”
The current state of play, noted Yang, is much more complicated and challenging.
To simplify the process, Yang is proposing to do away with allowing City Council members informal veto power over new developments in the districts they represent; getting rid of minimum parking requirements often attached to new projects; speeding up the city’s land-use approval process, and bringing back now-illegal single-room-occupancy hotels.
Part of the cash outlay he envisions would go toward converting underutilized hotels and office buildings into affordable apartments and supportive housing for people with extraordinary needs. He also said he’d use vacant city-owned land to build.
Yang made the pitch that he’s the right guy for the job, in part because of his lack of government experience.
“It’s going to take a mayor who is not grown from our bureaucratic machine, who has no ties to special interests to help achieve this,” he said. “It’s going to take a mayor with the courage to challenge our status quo to actually see this through to fruition.”
Yang is clueless about bodegas, wonder what he thinks would be an affordable amount to rent a studio or room for a month.