$2 Billion Development in Queens Approved Amid Housing Crisis

A typical household spends almost 35 percent of its income on rent, up from less than 30 percent in the mid 2000s. The median rent on newly leased apartments in Manhattan reached a record of $4,000 this year. Homelessness also reached a record level of more than 61,000 people.

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

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

The Adams administration has seen thousands of city employees quit, which has slowed work at agencies. The city’s work force declined by 19,000 employees over the last two years, according to a recent report by the state comptroller, which found that the vacancy rate at the Buildings 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 about the Council vote.

Drawings of the project include glass buildings, public parks, a playground and a “community hub” for non-profits. But some took issue with the inclusion of Gucci and Chanel stores in those drawings, fearing that it would become another neighborhood for the wealthy.

Mrs. Won said in a television interview on NY1 last month that there were more than 20 homeless shelters in her district and huge demand for affordable housing.

“There’s more parking spots being offered by this than affordable units,” she said.

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