Could ‘Mitchell-Lama 2.0’ Help New York’s Housing Crisis?

Good morning. It’s Wednesday. Today we’ll find out about plans to address the housing crisis, not just in New York City but statewide.

Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Democrats in the State Senate proposed a $250 million package of ideas to address one of New York’s most pressing crises, the lack of affordable housing. Some of the ideas were new. Some were very, very old. One is being called Mitchell-Lama 2.0 because it draws on a housing program from the 1950s.

The Senate’s proposals, along with those from the Assembly and Gov. Kathy Hochul, were the first salvos in this year’s budget battle in Albany. Hochul and the leaders in the two chambers have an April 1 deadline to come to terms on a state spending plan. Hochul, a centrist from Buffalo, will be forced to find common ground with an increasingly progressive Legislature.

I asked Grace Ashford, who covers Albany, to zero in on the housing proposals.

How often have you heard the phrase “back to the future” in connection with “Mitchell-Lama 2.0?” Because isn’t that what it’s about?

There’s a lot of nostalgia associated with the Mitchell-Lama program. People see it as a solid way that government was able to produce good housing that allowed middle-class New Yorkers to rent and buy affordable homes. That gives it a special spot in the political psyche.

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