Staff shortage at HPD in NYC leads to affordable housing

A staff shortage at the Big Apple’s largest housing agency is slowing plans to develop and build much-needed affordable housing, adding to the city’s decades-long shortage.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which is tasked with building new affordable housing, has lost 12 percent of its staff since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and is now 24 percent under budget.

Faring little better for the department tasked with renovating and protecting the city’s inventory of some 1 million rent-stabilized units, which has lost 7 percent of its staff since COVID and is now 18 percent under budget.

“That means they can develop less affordable housing,” said Brendan Cheney, chief speaker of the New York Housing Conference, which conducted the staff review.

“It means that projects that come to them now have to wait a long time before they can actually work on them and put them online,” he said, adding that “the project will be more expensive for the city.”

Cheney said better pay and more flexible work arrangements offered by private-sector employees help drive the brain drain of HPD project managers and attorneys who typically undertake projects.

It’s another hurdle New York City builders face, in addition to the Big Apple’s complex zoning regulations, lengthy and often contentious neighborhood involvement requirements, and the city council’s typical deference to local lawmakers when making decisions which projects will ultimately be pushed forward.

Between 2001 and 2018, just 407,000 new housing units were approved, while employers created another 770,000 jobs across the five boroughs, city data shows.

This ratio becomes even more skewed when one excludes job losses during the 2009 Wall Street collapse.

“I inherited a broken city with broken systems, and we can either put a band-aid on those broken systems, or you can go to the core and fix them. I’m going to the core to fix them,” Adams said in a statement to The Post.

HPD did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Staff shortage at HPD in NYC leads to affordable housing


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