New York State Sen. Brian Kavanagh discusses housing package

Brian Kavanagh

Originally published in Spectrum News 1 Capital Night on .
Capital Tonight

The New York state Senate’s housing plan is both broad in that it leaves many details to the negotiation process, and specific in that it proposes bill language covering an array of new ideas.

“We’re proposing that the state invest very substantially in constructing new housing on a large scale and rapidly,” state Sen. Brian Kavanagh, the Senate’s chair of the Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development, told Capital Tonight. 

One of the Senate’s more specific proposals invests in a new Mitchell Lama-type of affordable housing scheme.

According to Kavanagh, a new office called the New York Housing Opportunity Corp., which would be housed within the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, would focus on developing affordable housing on state land.

Other specifics in the Senate’s one-house budget include proposals to convert commercial buildings into residential; prevent people from getting evicted when they cannot pay rent; and creating a new office charged with ensuring people facing housing instability are provided with legal advice.

Other aspects of the housing proposal are looser.

“In the case of the 421a program, the governor put forth a new proposal but acknowledged it was something of a placeholder,” Kavanagh said. “We are more or less saying the same thing about the details, but the goal is to get a comprehensive deal in the context of a budget.”