Implementing New York City’s Universal Access to Counsel Program: Lessons for Other Jurisdictions
This Policy Brief gives a brief summary of the history of advocacy efforts to establish a “right to counsel” in eviction cases, which led up to the city’s UAC legislation. It provides an overview of the Furman Center’s observations of the first year of the program roll-out and suggests how the city’s experience might help other jurisdictions shape the design and implementation of their programs. Recognizing that every jurisdiction differs, and the importance of local context to understanding and learning from another jurisdiction’s experiences, Section II of the paper details the context in which the city’s UAC was designed. Section III then describes how the city has implemented UAC. Finally, Section IV discusses what can be learned from the city’s experience implementing the program, and highlights issues that other
jurisdictions need to consider in implementing a universal or expanded access to counsel program.
Policy Brief: 21st Century SROs: Can Small Housing Units Help Meet the Need for Affordable Housing in New York City?
This brief explores the potential demand for smaller, cheaper units to help address New York City’s affordable housing need. It considers the feasibility of self-contained micro units as well as efficiency units with shared kitchens and/or baths. The report considers the economics of building and operating small units and models their financial feasibility. It concludes by analyzing the main barriers to the creation of small units that exist in New York City and suggesting possible reforms that New York City can make to address these barriers.
21st Century SROs: Can Small Housing Units Help Meet the Need for Affordable Housing in New York City?
Single-room occupancy housing (SROs) used to be a readily available affordable housing type in New York City. During the second half of the 20th century, many SROs came to serve as housing of last resort, and mounting criticism of SROs led to laws banning their construction and discouraging their operation. Today, New York City faces a significant housing affordability crisis. In this context, it is worth considering whether the city needs an updated housing model that helps meet the need SROs filled in the last century. Here we analyze the benefits, risks, and challenges of reintroducing small housing units (self-contained micro units and efficiency units with shared facilities) in order to shed light on whether and how a new small-unit model could help meet the demand for affordable housing in the city today.
Population and Housing in the Floodplain Battered by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
In conjunction with the launch of FloodzoneData.us, the NYU Furman Center released a series of data briefs to illustrate the housing and population located in the U.S. floodplains. The third brief in the series, Population and Housing in the Floodplain Battered by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, describes the housing and population located in the floodplains of metropolitan areas affected by hurricanes in recent months, including Houston, Miami, Tampa, and Jacksonville. The analysis describes the housing stock (including tenure, size, and number of subsidized housing units) and population demographics (including poverty rates, households with children and seniors, and race/ethnicity) in floodplains within these metro areas.
Population in the U.S. Floodplains
In conjunction with the launch of FloodzoneData.us, the NYU Furman Center released a series of data briefs to illustrate the housing and population located in the U.S. floodplains. The second brief in the series, Population in the U.S. Floodplains, explores the characteristics of the population located in the 100-year floodplain and the combined floodplain (100-year and 500-year floodplain), nationwide. In 2015, more than 30 million people (10% of the U.S. population) lived in the combined floodplain.
Housing in the U.S. Floodplains
This brief, presented in conjuction with FloodzoneData.us describes characteristics about the housing stock located in the U.S. floodplains. Between 2011 and 2015, five percent of all occupied housing units in the United States were located in the 100-year floodplain, and 10 percent were located in combined (100- and 500-year) floodplains. The brief details factors that are important to understand when assessing the risk from flooding and the challenges of retrofitting, including the shares that are rental and owner-occupied, the age of the housing, and whether the housing is government subsidized.
Planning For An Uncertain Future: Can Multi-Criteria Analysis Support Better Decision-Making In Climate Planning?
This paper by Ingrid Gould Ellen, Jessica Yager, Melinda Hanson, and Luke Bo'sher, published in the Journal of Planning Education and Research, examines how multicriteria analysis (MCA), a decision-making tool, compares to other commonly used tools for making decisions about climate-change planning. The authors find that MCA has the potential to perform better than cost benefit analysis and working group approaches in supporting decision making processes that are more participatory, transparent, comprehensive, rigorous, and scenario-driven (five principles of effective planning). The paper also explores the ways in which MCA might fall short of these principles in practice, including when planners have limited resources.
Gentrification Responses: A Survey of Strategies to Maintain Neighborhood Economic Diversity
This report examines strategies used by local governments to address rising housing costs and displacement of low-income households in gentrifying neighborhoods. To assist tenants at risk of displacement, the report details strategies to regulate the landlord/tenant relationship well as strategies to provide assistance for households that move. To create and preserve affordable housing, the report explores ways to use city-owned land and other resources strategically to promote affordable housing in areas where costs are on the rise. It also examines ways to harness the market, such as inclusionary zoning and linkage fees. The report is part of an ongoing series of work by the NYU Furman Center on gentrification, but is the first to provide an overview of policy responses to the effects rapidly rising rents.
Zoning for Affordability: Using the Case of New York to Explore Whether Zoning can be Used to Achieve Income-Diverse Neighborhoods
This article considers the legal limitations on a locality’s ability to regulate land use, in order to evaluate whether mandatory inclusionary zoning can withstand legal challenge. It uses New York City’s recently adopted, ambitious, mandatory inclusionary zoning policy as a case study, and considers how the city might justify the policy in the face of both constitutional and state law challenges. The article concludes that New York City’s policy is likely to survive, but there are open legal questions that make it hard to predict with certainty how the policy will ultimately fare. Inclusionary zoning policies in other jurisdictions are likely to face similar challenges, and the experience of New York City will hold important lessons for other high-cost cities interested in using land use r egulation to foster economically diverse neighborhoods.
Selling the Debt: Properties Affected by the Sale of New York City Tax Liens
This data brief sheds light on the process of tax lien sales in New York City, which affected over 15,000 properties and roughly 43,600 residential units between 2010 and 2015.
It finds that most tax liens in New York City eligible for sale are sold and generate substantial revenue for the city; between 1997 and 2015, the city raised more than $1.3 billion from the sale of tax liens. However, the city also has the power to remove liens eligible for sale from the lien sale list. The report also describes the characteristics of properties with liens sold in New York City between 2010 and 2015, including the property type, their location, and the outcome following the lien sale.