$2 billion Queens improvement accepted amid housing disaster

A typical household spends nearly 35 percent of its income on rent, up from less than 30 percent in the mid-2000s. The median rent for new leases in Manhattan hit a record $4,000 this year. Homelessness also hit a record high at more than 61,000 people.

Many of the city’s problems, including the high cost of living, stem from the shortage. The New York metro area needed more than 340,000 additional homes in 2019, according to a May estimate by Up for Growth, a Washington policy and research group. The shortage is most acute for low-income New Yorkers, many of whom spend more than half of their income on housing.

Mayor Adams released his housing plan over the summer, but declined to set a specific target for affordable units. His predecessor, Bill de Blasio, made investing in affordable housing a cornerstone of his efforts to reduce inequality, and his government preserved or built more than 200,000 affordable housing, including about 30,000 in fiscal 2020.

The Adams administration has seen thousands of city employees resign, slowing work at the agencies. The city’s workforce has fallen by 19,000 over the past two years, according to a recent report by the State Audit Office, which found that the vacancy rate in the building department was nearly 25 percent.

Innovation Queens is being developed by a partnership between Silverstein Properties, BedRock Real Estate Partners and Kaufman Astoria Studios. The companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the council vote.

The project’s drawings include glass buildings, public parks, a playground, and a “community hub” for nonprofit organizations. However, some had trouble with including Gucci and Chanel stores in these drawings, fearing it would become another neighborhood for the wealthy.

Ms. Won said in a TV interview on NY1 last month that there are more than 20 homeless shelters in her district and there is a huge demand for affordable housing.

“More parking spaces are offered here than affordable units,” she said.

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