NYC Public Advocate's Statement On The Governor's State Of The State Address

January 9th, 2024

Press Release

"New Yorkers deserve to be safe and feel safe. Unfortunately, in her State of State, the governor's emphasis on low-level crimes will likely make people feel less safe, and over-incarcerating low-income New Yorkers for low-level offenses will cause more damage than it prevents, as we've learned from decades of similar attempts. The strategy outlined today showed a focus solely on law-enforcement and carceral solutions, without even an attempt at holistic approaches that have been proven to improve public safety. Additionally, there was no real mention of addressing gun violence across the state.

"Health is a component of public safety that the governor did thankfully address, both in a commitment to combat maternal health injustice and inequity, and in a need to center mental health, especially for young people. As with other areas, though, it is essential that mental health is met with resources, not a criminal response.

"Given her acknowledgement that housing affordability is an urgent crisis and priority for New Yorkers, it is striking how little of the address was spent on addressing that crisis. More housing is absolutely essential, and building on state sites is welcome – but it is far short of the broad plan the governor proposed but failed to collaborate with communities on last year. The answer to make up the additional shortfall is not handouts to developers in exchange for minimal so-called affordable units. This includes any converted commercial spaces, which again, is a vital element. Social housing, controlled by residents, must be central to a plan that can actually meet this crisis. And to help people access the housing we do create, the governor must support the Housing Access Voucher Program.

"Yet again, there was no effort in this agenda to keep tenants in the homes they have, through passing Good Cause eviction protections, expanding rent stabilization, and holding predatory landlords accountable. The governor must recognize this and work with the legislature to get it done. Last year’s impasse and inaction is something New Yorkers cannot afford.

"Lastly, while housing was under-discussed, at least it was given any time at all, unlike the ongoing effort to support migrants arriving here. With the mayor evicting children and families from shelters today, these two crises are intertwined, and it is inexplicable that the governor has gone through another State of the State without addressing one of our most pressing issues.  

"The state of our state may be strong, but far too few of the proposals in this agenda were strong enough to meet the needs New Yorkers face."

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