Building Homes, Building Hope: How New York Faith Communities Can Impact HousingDecember 7, 2023
The housing crisis in New York City is a severe humanitarian issue, with over 100,000 people seeking shelter every night. Escalating rents are pushing many to the brink, making the need for action more urgent than ever. Restrictive zoning policies are a major cause of the crisis, disproportionately affecting the city’s most vulnerable residents. Unfortunately, Albany has not provided any policy solutions to these long-standing challenges.
In response to this stalemate, there is a community-driven solution: empowering religious organizations to build affordable housing on their underutilized land. Faith-based organizations are deeply connected to New York’s diverse communities and are well-positioned to address this crisis. Many religious organizations already play a critical role in meeting community needs, and some have already begun building affordable housing.
However, the administrative and financial challenges of these projects have made them difficult to replicate on a larger scale. The Faith-Based Affordable Housing Act (FBAHA) aims to remove zoning hurdles and provide training to faith-based organizations in real estate and affordable housing. This law is expected to have a significant impact on New Yorkers struggling to find affordable homes, potentially unlocking billions of square feet of housing across the state.
Leaders of various faith organizations across the state are rallying together to support FBAHA, recognizing its unique opportunity to use their underutilized land for addressing the critical housing shortage. These groups are aware of the vital role that housing plays in community health and stability and are committed to addressing the housing crisis. As such, they urge legislative colleagues to support the FBAHA for a brighter housing future.