City Hall Pushing Albany to Pass Law to Ease Conversion of Hotels into Housing
By: Hellen Zaboulani
On Sunday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and members of the City Council announced that they will push the state to pass legislation which will facilitate conversions of underused and vacant hotels into permanent affordable housing.
As reported by AM NY, the Mayor said that, if passed, the state bill could help the effort to combat homelessness in NYC more than tearing down old buildings and constructing new homes. “Unlocking hotel conversions is not going after union hotels, it is going after those hotels that are creating a blight and that have created conditions in our communities that are used for so many illegal means and those that are closed,” Mayor Adams said. “It is about repurposing underused hotels and creating supportive housing for those experiencing homelessness. We are solving two problems that are facing our communities.”
The bill, sponsored by NY State Senator Brian Kavanagh and NYS Assembly member Steven Cymbrowitz, will be voted on in Albany. “Converting distressed hotels will enable us to significantly expand the supply of permanent affordable housing in New York,” said Kavanagh.
“Today this is your best press conference ever, Mr. Mayor, I want you to know that it is the one that’s going to actually create housing,” said Manhattan City Council Member Gale Brewer, voicing her support. The initiative is also being backed by the Hotel Trades Council. HTC President, Rich Maroko, called the bill a “common sense policy” that could help the housing crisis while eliminating “failing hotels” which “provide only poverty-level jobs, bring crime to local communities.” “We have too many of the wrong kind of a hotel, and not enough of the right kind of housing. And this bill will help address both of those problems by converting those types of hotels into the right kind of housing,” Maroko said.
If passed, the law could make it easy to use the $100 million earmarked in 2021 by the Housing Our Neighbors with Dignity Act to facilitate the hotel conversions. Mayor Adam’s recently announced executive budget also commits $5 billion in new capital funding to create and preserve affordable housing. “All New Yorkers deserve safe and stable housing, and we have to create more flexibility in our zoning and building codes to allow for the conversion of vacant hotels into desperately needed supportive and affordable housing,” said NY City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “I urge my colleagues in the State Senate and Assembly to seize the moment …”