Housing Advocates Say City Council is Stalling on Abandoned Buildings Bill

Homeless advocates are pressuring the City Council to hold a hearing on a bill that would require a census of vacant buildings. Supporters of the measure say its a way to pressure the city into converting empty buildings into affordable housing. 

The legislation was introduced in February and has 26 sponsors.  

Marcus Moore from the group Picture the Homeless believes the census would help document how long buildings have been vacant and who owns them.

"Once we find out who owns it and what they're doing with it, if it's just abandoned, then we can continue to advocate and cut down on this homelessness in New York City," Moore says. Picture the Homeless has started its own census, which lists 372 abandoned buildings so far.

The Rent Stabilization Association, a landlord group, says the Cenus Bureau already produces a housing and vacancy survey for the city. A spokesman questioned whether a new census is necessary.

Any hearing on the bill would be held by the council's housing and buildings committee chaired by Erik Dilan of Brooklyn. His office has not responded to a request for comment.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn sent a statement saying: "Although I appreciate a concern, this is a bill that will be very costly and actually divert resources from exactly of the goal of the bill's proponents."