Houses, Not Warehouses Act Might Be A Game Changer For NYC’s Housing Crisis
There are currently more than 2,000 vacant properties and lots in NYC. Together, they could provide housing solutions for 200,000 homeless New Yorkers.
NYC is, indeed a city of contrasts. Just when you think that no parcel of land is safe from rampant development, including jails and houses of worship, you suddenly realize—hey, what about all these sinister-looking empty houses and vacant land lots?
There is probably one in your neighborhood. You know, one of those abandoned properties that attracts rats, and whose owners can’t be tracked down by any legal means—basically, an eyesore for the local residents?
There is more where these came from—at least 2,200 only in the borough of Manhattan. And there is also a homeless epidemic in NYC—data says that some 60,000 people are currently sleeping in shelters. It’s easy to put two and two together here, right? At least,organization Picture the Homeless did – and is currently fighting for the passage of the Housing, Not Warehousing Act.
This act is a combination of the three bills. Here’s what it would do—mandate an annual count of all vacant property in NYC, create a mandatory registry for all landlords holding their property vacant, and,finally, “compile a list of all city, state, federally, and authority-owned vacant property suitable for the development of affordable housing, and recommend paths towards bringing these units to occupancy for affordable housing when possible.”
That last part is important. The Housing, Not Warehousing Act, which, according to the public advocates, might just turn out to be the strongest anti-warehousing legislation this city has ever seen, is supposed to mitigate and solve NYC’s housing and homelessness crisis – not create more glassy condos.
“Developers, builders, and speculators see vacant spaces as future wealth,” say representatives of the Picture the Homeless. “That future wealth does us no good now, when people are hungry and starving and homeless. Identifying vacant spaces is part of measuring the resources of New York City, both real and potential.”
“If we utilize the city’s vacant lots and buildings, we could find housing for every homeless New Yorker,” says Public Advocate Letitia James. “The Housing Not Warehousing Act realizes this solution by enumerating all vacant lots, creating a mandatory registry for landlords owning vacant property and using the vacant properties to create affordable housing units.”