“I know it feels like I’ve been mayor for five years, but I’ve been here for five months,” said Mr. Adams at a press conference last Friday. ‘I inherited a broken city, with broken systems. We can either put a band-aid on these broken systems or go to the core and fix them.’
But he added: “There is no rush to do this. We have to do it right.”
In New York City, about a third of renters have “severe rent burdens,” meaning they spend more than 50 percent of their income on rent, according to a survey of the city’s housing stock published last week. According to the Coalition for the Homeless, more than 48,000 people were sleeping in shelters in New York City every night in March, with the number of single people in shelters steadily growing in recent years.
The pandemic exacerbated many of those problems as tens of thousands of people struggled to pay their rent or mortgage and sought help from the government.
Many places across the country are struggling with housing affordability, and there is a growing awareness that a shortage of available housing is one cause. This week, President Biden announced a new plan to deal with the housing crisis that would spur zoning reforms to allow for more density, among other amenities.
The city’s affordability crisis has been underlined more than once in recent weeks. A report released this month by brokerage Douglas Elliman found that rents are continuing to rise in some parts of the city: In Manhattan, for example, the average effective rent in April 2022 was $3,870, more than 38 percent higher than a year earlier. and the highest level ever recorded.
The city’s housing stock survey underscored a long-standing trend of declining affordability: Between 2017 and 2021, New York City lost nearly 100,000 units rented for less than $1,500 a month, while adding 107,000 units renting for at least $2,300 per month.
A panel effectively controlled by the mayor recently voted to support some of the biggest rent increases in nearly a decade for rent-stabilized homes — home to more than two million people, many of them lower incomes. Evictions are slowly rising after the state’s pandemic moratorium expired in January.