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Governor Hochul Signs Landmark Law Unlocking Underutilized Hotel Space for Affordable Housing

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Jun 08, 2022 - 09:10 AM

Governor Kathy Hochul signed new legislation (S.4937C/A.6262B) to create more flexible rules for converting underutilized hotel space into permanent housing. Governor Hochul signed the bills with Senator Brian Kavanagh, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, and housing and labor advocates.

“As New York’s housing crisis continues to impact families, we’re taking bold action, embracing innovative ideas and thinking outside the box to help ensure that New Yorkers can access safe, livable, and quality affordable housing,” Governor Hochul said. “This new law allows us to tackle the affordability crisis head-on and convert empty, underutilized spaces into homes. I thank Assembly Member Cymbrowitz and Senator Kavanagh for sponsoring this bill and taking this step to ensure that New Yorkers have a place to call home.”

“Converting underutilized hotel space into affordable housing will provide thousands of struggling New Yorkers an affordable home in locations that otherwise would have been inaccessible to them,” said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. “Creative solutions like this provide equity in housing and help families who are experiencing homelessness or instability.”

State Senator Brian Kavanagh said, “Allowing conversion of underutilized hotel space into affordable permanent housing represents another critical step we are taking toward ending the crises of unaffordable housing, evictions, and homelessness that have gripped New York for far too long. I thank Assemblymember Steve Cymbrowitz for his partnership in getting this bill through the legislature, Governor Kathy Hochul for her strong leadership and her commitment to delivering on the promise of ensuring that everyone has access to an affordable place to live, Mayor Eric Adams for his advocacy and for the work his administration is prepared to do to convert hotels to homes, President Rich Maroko and the Hotel Trades Council for embracing this cause and always fighting for good jobs, Ted Houghton of Gateway Housing for his expertise and tireless work to get this done, and the many providers of affordable housing and advocates for housing, homes and services for homeless New Yorkers, and sensible land use policies that balance the need for housing and economic opportunity, who all played a critical role in enacting this legislation.”

Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz said, “This law creates an important and creative new tool to allow distressed hotel space to be converted to permanent housing in a city desperately lacking in enough supportive and affordable housing stock.The support that the legislation received from housing and labor advocates, Mayor Adams, and city and state representatives sent a strong message that the measure needed to be passed this session to meet New York City’s affordable housing crisis while at the same time alleviating the pressure on commercial real estate that was brought about by the pandemic.”

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said, “Today, we are saying yes to more of the affordable and supportive housing that New Yorkers need and deserve. This law cuts red tape and removes outdated rules so we can take advantage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity. I want to thank my partners in the Legislature and at HTC for providing the support we needed to deliver this win for New Yorkers, as well as Governor Hochul for signing this bill into law.”

The new law authorizes Class B hotels that are located in or within 400 feet of districts that permit residential use and meet certain criteria to use their existing certificates of occupancy to operate as permanent residential spaces. The new bill further allows such hotels to provide permanent housing if they enter into an agreement with the City or if they receive State financing, through the Housing Our Neighbors with Dignity Act (HONDA).

In her State of the State address, Governor Hochul announced a $25 billion, five-year Housing Plan that will create or preserve 100,000 affordable homes in urban and rural areas across New York including 10,000 homes with supportive services. As part of that announcement, the governor proposed easing hotel conversions to create more affordable housing. The governor has also secured an additional $100 million in HONDA funding to convert vacant commercial properties and distressed hotel properties across the state.

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