Affordable Housing and Homelessness

Lack of access to quality, affordable housing is the most pressing issue facing New York City and the Bronx today. Out of 100,000 homeless New York City public school students, 36,000 live in the Bronx. Our seniors living on fixed incomes cannot afford the constantly rising rents. And we’re staring down the barrel of an eviction crisis once the COVID-inspired eviction moratorium is lifted, potentially throwing tens of thousands of Bronx residents out of their homes and into the streets and shelter systems. Pre-COVID gentrification was already pushing housing costs out of reach for working- and middle-class families. We need creative solutions to quickly scale up the building and preservation of truly affordable units in every community of the Bronx.

As Chair of the Committee on Land Use, Rafael Salamanca fought for 100% affordable housing and increased housing for formerly homeless individuals and families. In response to the homelessness crisis – the worst since the Great Depression – Salamanca worked tirelessly with advocates to secure what homeless New Yorkers need most, permanent housing.  He approved over 7,000 units of 100% affordable housing, including 5,000 units of new construction including housing for seniors, homeless New Yorkers, deeply affordable housing and housing for working families.

Despite opposition from Mayor de Blasio, Salamanca won passage of Intro 1211, historic legislation requiring any subsidized housing project with more than 40 units to set aside 15% of the units for the homeless.

Through his capital budget, Salamanca delivered $16 million for 100% affordable housing projects throughout the South Bronx. Equally important as creating 100% affordable housing is preserving the borough’s current stock of affordable housing.  He has also worked with numerous building owners on Article XI tax abatement applications, paving the way for critical capital upgrades, while maintaining decades-long affordable housing agreements.

Salamanca's Plan for Housing and Homelessness

Salamanca believes that any development must serve the diverse needs of the local community, not the profit motives of the developer, so as he has always done, Salamanca will use the power of his office to address an affordable housing crisis that has been growing for decades.

                 Require that new developments are truly affordable for the neighborhoods they are built in. All buildings should be mixed income - with the highest income level still within the community’s income levels.

                 Work with city partners to create a detailed inventory of zombie properties, vacant lots, or other under-used public land, whether owned by the city, the state or public authorities. Salamanca will push to utilize such properties to build new affordable housing while also preserving community gardens that may be present.

                 Work with federal colleagues to change AMI (area median income) to more accurately represent the affordability needs of communities. The current system includes high-wealth neighborhoods in Manhattan, Westchester and Long Island which skews affordability levels for the Bronx and encourages gentrification and displacement.

                 Commit to preserving thousands of units of affordable housing

                 Partner with the Public Advocate to identify and hold accountable landlords on the Slumlord list.

                 Work with the District Attorney to identify and prosecute landlords who harass tenants or illegally put them at risk

                 Demand increased funding, greater accountability and management changes at NYCHA.

Homeless New Yorkers are the most vulnerable among us, and our city leadership has failed to provide adequate resources or support. Salamanca is committed to doing everything he can as Councilmember to end homelessness in the Bronx.

                 Expand creation of new housing for homeless New Yorkers by requiring buildings with 30 or more units to set aside 15% of their units, lowering the number from 40 units.

                 Prioritize homeless units for veterans, trans and other at-risk youth, or families with children under 16.

                 Refocus city agencies and mental healthcare programs like Thrive to better serve the needs of homeless people and families.

                 Expand Right to Counsel to guarantee more tenants have lawyers with them in housing court - the most effective means of preventing homelessness is keeping individuals in their homes.

                 Partner with community organizations to provide on-the-ground support for people experiencing homelessness, including veterans and trans youth.

                 Advocate for state funding for Housing Stability Support, providing rental support to those at risk of homelessness

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