New legislation would convert old commercial spaces into affordable housing
Nick Reisman is reporting for State of Politics under new legislation approved by state lawmakers Wed., Jun. 9, distressed properties like old hotels and vacant offices would be converted into affordable housing. "This is a needed band-aid on the housing crisis and it will have a real impact on people’s lives," said Althea Matthews, an advocate with the group VOCAL-NY. "We still need a comprehensive plan to create even more nonprofit housing, and we are never going to solve the problem of homelessness until we stop seeing it as a business." Matthews has direct knowledge of the state's housing shortage — she has been living in a shelter for the last two years. The measure would allow the state to finance the purchase and conversion of vacant properties to create permanent housing by nonprofit organizations. "The Housing Our Neighbors with Dignity Act builds on those efforts and continues to address housing issues that the pandemic has heightened," said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. The bill also addresses the increase in vacant commercial properties. Policymakers since the start of the year had looked at vacant commercial space for potential conversion into housing as the economy was being prepared to reopen. The bill now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his consideration. Cuomo had proposed a similar conversion program in early 2021 as part of his State of the State agenda. Read the full story at nystateofpolitics [dot] com.