News Roundup

  • In New York City, Pandemic-Emptied Hotels Could Become Affordable Housing

    The spike in demand for affordable and supportive housing because of the pandemic has overwhelmed New York City’s already strained housing supply. The drastic reduction in tourist travel has provided the opportunity to create single-room occupancy units during the COVID-19 crisis by repurposing commercial hotels, 20 percent of which are not expected to reopen. “In this particularly stressful time with virtually no revenues, we expect there will be a high degree of interest from some owners,” said CEO of the Hotel Association of New York City, Vijay Dandapani. 

  • Connecticut Stalls on Opportunity to Tackle Local Housing Segregation

    Days after elected officials participated in a Black Lives Matter protest, Weston, Connecticut, shut down a proposed strategic plan that would have increased inclusive development and affordable housing. Spurred by Weston and other local zoning moves across the state, a coalition of land-use attorneys, architects, and planning and zoning commissioners is pressing the legislature and governor to change the laws that allow local officials to block affordable housing in small towns. Governor Ned Lamont passively responded to these demands and said local officials should be able to decide their own development projects. Developer Richard Freedman says this practice is an extension of Jim Crow–era zoning.

  • Federal Court Dismisses Lawsuit against New York’s Eviction Moratorium

    A federal judge upheld New York’s eviction moratorium after rejecting a lawsuit from residential landlords who claimed the moratorium (which protects renters directly affected by COVID-19 until August 19, 2020) violated their due process, contract, and property rights. US District Judge Colleen McMahon wrote that the lawsuit would not be taken on by the court because the moratorium does not remove tenants’ obligations to pay rent and only delays landlords in seeking legal redress for unpaid rent.  

  • Local Policy Levers Needed to Address Affordable Housing Crisis

    According to a new study by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, nearly half of renters in the US are cost burdened, meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, and the COVID-19 crisis is exacerbating this burden. In response to this crisis, executive fellows of FUSE, a nonprofit that partners with local governments, see five local policy recommendations as keys to financing affordable housing: establish housing finance agencies, look for city funding beyond low-income housing tax credits and bonds, build public-private partnerships, start an affordable housing accelerator fund, and use technology for sharing information across affordable housing stakeholders.