It’s one of Andrew Yang’s most sweeping proposals as a mayoral candidate.

What You Need To Know

  • Plan to use $4B a year to create or preserve 30,000 affordable apartments annually
  • Yang wants to end City Council member deference and upend the arcane ULURP process

  • Vision is sweeping but leaves some questions unanswered

“I intend on spending $4 billion annually on affordable housing,” he said Wednesday.
And it addresses one of the city’s most pressing problems.
“This investment would allow us to build and preserve 30,000 affordable apartments per year,” he added.
Yang is a newcomer to politics, a factor he argued made him best-positioned to reduce the red tape that has slowed the housing development approvals process.
“It’s going to take a mayor who is not grown from our bureaucratic machine, who has no ties to special interests to achieve this,” he said in a speech delivered from Seward Park Co-op for a virtual event hosted by New York Law School.

The frontrunner in the Democratic primary for mayor targeted several long-standing practices.
“If elected, I plan on working with the City Council to eliminate a practice known as member deference,” he said.

“We need to also make long-term changes to ULURP. My focus will be on speeding up approvals for 100% of affordable housing projects,” he said.
He likened the council veto capability to the U.S. Senate filibuster and criticized the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure as arcane.

His campaign later added he was use his bully pulpit in ways other mayors had not to work with the council speaker on ending deference.

Yang also wants to use vacant city-owned land, do away with mandatory parking minimums and legalize single-room occupancy buildings.

The vision was bold but lacking in details about implementation. 

In a February mayoral forum hosted by Tenants PAC, Tenants & Neighbors and Met Council Action, Yang had discussed what he considers affordable.
“We should be defining it as 40, 50% of median income as opposed to this 70, 80% that developers would prefer,” he said.

His campaign said after his speech Wednesday that he seeks housing between zero and 80% of AMI with a focus on deep affordability.

But there’s also the community resistance Mayor de Blasio and others faced.

We asked an affordable housing advocate who’s encourage by Yang’s plan about that dynamic.
“I would say that there are a lot of people who benefit from having less housing in this city,” said Michelle Kuppersmith, a board member with Open New York. “And they value things like their views and their ability to park their cars more than actual housing for humans.”

Asked about the plan’s price tag, Kuppersmith said it’s worth the investment because New York City can’t recover if people can’t afford to live in it.

Yang’s campaign also said on Wednesday that he earned the endorsement of an influential bloc of Orthodox Jewish sects in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn.

The support of the influential Hasidic voters in the neighborhood was first reported by The Forward. It comes after Yang advocated for a hands-off approach to yeshivas and vocally opposed the boycott, divest and sanction, or BDS, movement.