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As rents soar, City Hall dysfunction exacerbates NYC housing crisis

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The administration of Mayor Eric Adams has failed to fill key positions in housing companies, leading to skyrocketing rents and the Big Apple’s worsening housing crisis Stuck insiders, activists and city officials told the Post.

Mount Frustration Offers As Affordable Housing Production has plummeted in recent months And while developers struggle to obtain major city approvals for new buildings, completed projects struggle to obtain the necessary inspections and opening permits.

“The first time I discovered this was because the building was built and ready to open a restaurant, but it didn’t get approval,” said a former Manhattan mayor. Gale Brewer of said.

“Many of their vacancies are in places that are absolutely necessary to build affordable housing.”

City Hall missed its target of building or refinancing rent-stable apartments in budget year 2022 by 36%. Of the 25,000 apartments planned for the 12 months from July 2021 to June 2022, only 16,000 were built or preserved.

It was the first time in at least five years that City Hall failed to hit its benchmark. This has continued despite the slowdown in the local economy following the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.

A production error occurs when rents explode across New York. The average price of an apartment in Manhattan jumped by almost $1,000 last year alone. In August, it reached $4,100 per month.

The administration of Mayor Eric Adams has failed to fill key posts in the city’s housing companies, according to activists and city officials.
AP Photo/Julia Nikinson

“The mayor campaigned to make this the City of Jesus,” complained one developer. “And nobody sees it in affordable housing. It’s taking even longer to get approval.”

The person added: “As for housing companies, there is a general dysfunction and a shortage of manpower, and it is impossible to get answers outside the city.”

The dysfunction extends to the city’s most high-profile projects, which require rezoning approved by the city council and typically require significant time from the recent previous administration, sources say. .

Insiders highlighted two specific projects where the Adams administration’s absence was keenly felt: the collapse of negotiations to build apartment complexes in 145;th Streets of East Harlem and Recent Contracts Signed to Build Astoria’s three residential skyscrapers and waterfront promenade.

“We looked into it and made it public. It’s an important project and this was not surprising,” said the lawmaker, referring to the three towers currently installed at Halletts Point in Queens. I’m here. “There was no feedback or direction from the mayor.”

The politician added:

The city missed its budget year 2022 goal of building or refinancing rent-stable apartments by 36%.
The city missed its target of building or refinancing rent-stable apartments in budget year 2022 by 36%.
Levine-Roberts/Sipa USA

The departure infuriated congressional insiders in particular when Adams staff contacted him to schedule an appearance for the mayor at a ribbon-cutting in July.

A spokesman for the Adams administration disputed that characterization, saying the mayor had promised to attack the city’s housing crisis in response to questions from the Post.

they are a series Zoning changes Hizzoner will be rolling out in the coming months It aims to speed up housing construction by reducing parking space requirements for new buildings and providing new incentives for builders to add affordable units.

And the mayor’s representative highlighted Adams’ recent budget Allocate an additional $500 million annual budget To subsidized housing and public housing. But they admit that the money was needed to keep production levels steady due to rising costs.

“Mayor Adams made it clear that providing safe, high-quality, and affordable housing for all New Yorkers is an urgent priority, and he is committed to helping all neighborhoods build more affordable housing. It laid out a bold vision for the ‘City of Yes’ fulfilling its role, said City Hall spokesman Charles Luttovak.

He added: [public housing] Provide safety and dignity to residents and provide safety and dignity to homeless people. “

According to more than a dozen interviews with insiders and experts, staffing shortages at key institutions are exacerbated by a combination of factors, many of whom have requested anonymity for fear of retaliation.

The battle came at an inappropriate time as rising interest rates and a plunging stock market wreaked havoc on the market, but insiders say the city hall housing struggle is due to itself. .

The average rent for an apartment in Manhattan has increased by nearly $1,000 over the past year.
The average rent for an apartment in Manhattan has increased by nearly $1,000 over the past year.
Photo by Spencer Pratt/Getty Images

One insider said, “The city isn’t doing what it can to give people confidence that it could be done if other aspects were different.”

“It’s taking too long because City Hall isn’t leaning to get it done,” the person added. “They haven’t followed up internally.”

Another expert said the problem causing the decline in affordable housing production was the ’80-20′ by the city government.

Adams, according to many sources, empowers just a small circle within his administration to make important hiring and policy decisions, often excluding deputy mayors and commissioners from the process.

“He runs city hall like he runs a ward office,” said one city government veteran. “He consolidates power into his two or his three, but they are not experienced managers.”

“They don’t know how to manage, so they micro-manage. They’re making decisions four weeks after they have to,” the person added. It’s a municipal workforce. You have to manage it.”

This is compounded by Hisoner’s requirement to prioritize minority candidates, a policy the city hall enforces by requiring agencies to provide photos of finalists. Competition for qualified minority candidates is particularly fierce because the overall pool of potential recruits is small.

The Department of Urban Planning and the Department of Housing Conservation and Development launch a talent war with the private sector, which has significant disadvantages both old and new.

Alderman Gale Brewer said there are buildings in her district awaiting approval to open.
Alderman Gale Brewer said there are buildings in her district awaiting approval to open.
Daniel William McKnight

The two agencies have always struggled to match the salaries offered by businesses and corporations, but residency requirements ban local government employees from living in New Jersey, allowing less salaries to go into rent. We are effectively forcing them to spend.

These long-standing challenges are exacerbated by Adams’ ban on agencies from offering hybrid work environments and by denying agency chiefs the authority to navigate the city’s complex hiring process.

“It’s a really competitive market there, and the city is very uncompetitive. It takes a lot of time, you have to go through the list of civil servants, and the city starts with a very low offer.” said one insider. “It just makes things really, really tough.”

For example, in urban planning, where there is a severe shortage of staff, only Queens currently has one borough planner. Positions in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx and Staten Island are vacant and are currently being filled by alternate staff.

The vacancies at the top were further compounded by Adams’ decision to appoint longtime politicians to run the agency, instead of seasoned planners and administrators who could quickly dig into the bureaucracy and help fill the slack. It’s getting worse.

City Planning Commissioner Dan Garodnick and HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrion are both former city councilors.

“The core of the problem is the poor leadership of government agencies,” complained one official. “We hired friends to run the city agencies, not administrators. I would.”

the source said the problem Worse with HPDwith a relatively low vacancy rate of 15%, but projects are stalling with so many vacancies in the key departments that oversee financing and approval of affordable housing.

“HPD is a real mess,” said a longtime observer. “People are starting to complain because they can’t finance the deal.”

“This is an Eric Adams mess,” the person added. “Adams accepted his management team, but they didn’t fill in anything.”

In its mandatory annual report released in September, HPD quietly explained that it had missed its housing goals because of a staffing shortage.

“The decline in production levels in fiscal 2022 is primarily due to higher construction costs and agency staffing issues,” officials wrote in the report. We are committed to investing in staff and resources to support the creation and preservation of our residential units.”

General view of New York City Hall in New York
“HPD is a real mess,” said a longtime observer.
Christopher Sadowski

Our goal for 2023 is 18,000 units built or refinanced This is just a fraction of the previous target of 25,000, the highest value for 32,517 apartments built or refinanced in 2018.

Rachel Fee, executive director of the New York Housing Council, which advocates for housing subsidy programs, said, “If we don’t have the people there to process loan closings, we won’t get closings.” What really worries me is that they’re still losing people and haven’t turned it around.”

She added:

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