Governor Hochul Takes Executive Actions to Address Housing Crisis

On Tuesday, July 18th, Governor Kathy Hochul announced several executive actions she will be taking to address the ongoing housing crisis in the state. Housing was a major part of the Governor’s proposed Executive Budget this year, but her proposals were mostly left out of the final budget after an agreement could not be made with the Legislature. One of the actions the Governor announced is that she has signed an Executive Order that designates certain discretionary funds as “Pro-Housing Community Programs” to recognize and reward communities that actively seek to participate in increasing housing. The Executive Order also “mandates that all state entities must review lands in their ownership and control to determine whether the sites could be used either for housing development or to support nearby housing developments.”

Others actions the Governor announced include:

  • Requests for proposals to redevelop the Javits Center Site K in Manhattan and the Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill for residential use;

  • The launch of the beta version of a Housing Data Dashboard, which will share statistics and information regarding housing and zoning trends and practices around the state;

  • The Department of State has initiated regulatory updates to align its regulations under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) with other agencies’ SEQR regulation and will help facilitate obtaining variances under the Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code and Energy Conservation Construction Code;

  • The Department of Environmental Conservation will also explore opportunities to balance identifying efficiencies in its SEQR regulations; and

  • The creation of a new program that will be an alternative for development proposals that are now unable to receive the 421-a tax break, which expired in January. The program would only be available to proposals located in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn that are currently vested in the expired 421-a program, have a building capacity of at least 50 units, contain affordable housing in compliance with 421-a, have full entitlement under city zoning and applicable regulatory codes, and are able to comply with Empire State Development’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises contracting requirements. Also, participation in the program will require that all affordable housing units must remain permanently affordable.

“New York’s housing crisis isn’t going away,” the Governor said. “I’m committed to do everything in my power to make New York affordable and livable for all. These executive actions are an important first step to expand our housing supply and promote housing growth. But make no mistake: to fully address the scope of this crisis, we need action from the Legislature – and I’m committed to continuing our work on housing in the coming months.”