CSS works with tenant leaders, fellow advocates , and policy makers at all levels of government to address the scarcity of affordable housing for low-income New Yorkers and the hardships they face as a result of rising rents and displacement pressures.
Preserving Existing Affordable Housing
Low-income New Yorkers depend on a variety of subsidized housing programs to protect themselves from the effects of the city’s chronic housing shortage. Unfortunately, much of the city’s subsidized housing stock is itself under threat due to deteriorating conditions, market pressures, or both.
Since 2006, CSS has been focusing attention on this issue with its Closing the Door report series, based on annual monitoring of the state of the subsidized stock. These reports have contributed to the development of an effective collaboration between nonprofit organizations, New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and other government agencies to catch troubled developments before deterioration leads to the loss of a federal subsidy.
Strengthening Rent Regulation
Almost 40 percent of New York City’s low-income families live in rent-controlled and rent-stabilized apartments, twice as many as live in public and subsidized housing.
Rent regulation makes these apartments somewhat more affordable than unregulated ones and provides a very important benefit by making tenancies more secure and protecting tenants who demand proper maintenance. But this housing stock is also under threat due to the rent laws’ vacancy destabilization provision and a wave of highly-leveraged speculative building sales during the housing boom. CSS’s analysis of these trends, including The New Housing Emergency, a report issued jointly with the New York State Assembly, contributed to reforms to the rent laws in 2011.
Expanding Opportunities for Public Housing Residents
Between 2008 and 2010, the unemployment rate for public housing and Section 8 voucher residents assisted by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) nearly tripled, rising from 10 percent to 27 percent.
Under Section 3 of the 1968 Housing Act, NYCHA must use its federal HUD funding to maximize job and training opportunities for low-income New Yorkers and develop the capacity of its resident workforce. CSS has argued for stronger compliance with the Section 3 mandate, as well as highlighting opportunities for NYCHA to expand job and training opportunities for its residents—even in a tough economy.