Mayor Adams Unveils A Future-Oriented Plan For The Working Class In His Third State Of The City Address

January 24, 2024

New York City Mayor Eric Adams today outlined a future-focused vision for working-class New Yorkers in his third State of the City address.

Delivered at Hostos Community College’s Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture in the Bronx. After driving crime down and pushing job growth to historic highs — all while managing a once-in-a-generation asylum seeker humanitarian crisis — Mayor Adams outlined ambitious plans to continue to deliver for New York City across his priority areas that have been a part of his vision for New York City since day one: making the country’s safest big city even safer, building a forward-looking economy that works for working-class New Yorkers, and making the city more livable for all New Yorkers.

“When we came into office two years ago, we had a clear vision: protect public safety, rebuild our economy, and make this city more livable,” said Mayor Adams. “Two years later, thanks to the hard work of this administration and millions of dedicated New Yorkers, the state of our city is strong — far stronger than it was when we came into office. New York City is becoming a place where everyone has the opportunity to make it, and the future-focused vision we laid out today will build on all that we have delivered for New Yorkers by investing in public safety, public spaces, and the working people who make New York City the greatest city in the world. While our city is still full of questions, history shows we can answer them and progress together when we work as one. The last two years have been a time of renewal and resetting — now, let’s make the future together.”

Making the Safest Big City in the Country Even Safer

New York City is the safest big city in the country. Mayor Adams entered City Hall with a mission to reduce crime and keep New Yorkers safe, and he has delivered on that commitment. Under Mayor Adams and New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Edward A. Caban’s leadership, overall crime is down in New York City. In 2023, the city saw a drop in five of the seven major crime categories, including a 12 percent decline in homicides and a 25 percent decrease in shooting incidents compared to the year prior. Additionally, the NYPD has taken more than 14,000 illegal guns off of New York City streets since the start of the Adams administration. Crime has fallen as a result of strong support for law enforcement as well as proactive strategies deployed by the administration, including plans to crack down on auto theftscombat retail thefts, and launch a $500 million blueprint to keep communities safe from gun violence.


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In 2024, the Adams administration will continue to build on those wins and address public safety challenges that are top of mind for everyday New Yorkers, including traffic safety. In response to the rise of e-bikes, mopeds, cargo bikes, and other nontraditional transportation modes on New York City streets and sidewalks, the administration is in discussions with the New York City Council to create the “New York City Department of Sustainable Delivery.” The department will prioritize safety while harnessing the potential of these new forms of transportation. This first-in-the-nation regulatory entity will establish clear goals and guidelines for the future of delivery in New York City and consolidate work that is now spread out over multiple agencies. While 2023 was the second-safest year for pedestrians on record, New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez and the city’s Vision Zero Task Force will continue to recognize that traffic safety is public safety and keep New York City’s streets and sidewalks safe.

As Mayor Adams has consistently said, public safety and justice go hand in hand. But right now, some NYPD internal discipline cases take more than a year to resolve. This year, the NYPD will overhaul their internal discipline process to halve the time it takes to resolve internal cases by eliminating redundancies, setting strict timelines, and allowing cases to proceed contemporaneously with criminal proceedings.

Additionally, Mayor Adams continued to advocate for legislation in Albany to give New York City the authority to shut down illegal smoke shops and stop their proliferation across the city.

Finally, recognizing the danger that social media poses to young people and mental health, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan today issued a Health Commissioner’s Advisory identifying unfettered access to and use of social media as a public health hazard, just as past U.S. surgeons general have done with tobacco and firearms.

Building a Forward-Looking Economy That Works for Working-Class New Yorkers

Mayor Adams has steered New York City through a new chapter of its economic recovery, officially regaining all of the private-sector jobs the city lost during the COVID-19 pandemic more than a year ahead of schedule. More than 270,000 private sector jobs and 44,000 businesses — the majority of which are small businesses — have been created since Mayor Adams took office. Through strategic investments and advocacy, the Adams administration reduced the out-of-pocket cost of subsidized child care, or per-child copayment, for a family earning $55,000 a year from $55 per week in 2022 to $4.80 per week today. Led by New York City Office of Labor Relations Commissioner Renee Campion, the Adams administration has also delivered better wages and benefits to hundreds of thousands of municipal workers, including 93 percent of the unionized workforce and 100 percent of the uniformed workforce, while setting a first-of-its-kind minimum pay rate for app-based restaurant delivery workers.

Further, Mayor Adams committed to accelerating the city’s job growth to reach 5 million total jobs by 2025 — more than a year ahead of projections. The administration will accomplish this goal by building future-focused industries, such as those in the green economy, from the ground up to create accessible career pathways. In the coming weeks, Mayor Adams, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President and CEO Andrew Kimball, and others will unveil the administration’s “Green Economy Action Plan” to detail how the city will harness the economic potential of reducing emissions and building a more sustainable city to help support 400,000 green economy jobs alone in New York City by 2040. As a foundation for this work, NYCEDC will invest $100 million to create the “Climate Innovation Hub” at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. This new hub will serve as a home for clean tech innovation and manufacturing, encourage climate innovation startups, and operate as a new convergence in the city’s broader “Harbor of the Future” initiative, which includes emerging innovation centers at the Hunts Point Produce MarketGovernors Island, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Science Park and Research Campus (SPARC) in Kips Bay, and the North Shore of Staten Island. The Harbor of the Future will create approximately 53,000 temporary and permanent jobs and $95 billion in economic impact.

Additionally, building on the work the administration has done to create an economy that leaves no New Yorkers behind, the city will release “Women Forward NYC­­,” an approximately $40 million action plan to make New York City a better place for women to live, work, and thrive. The plan will include funding to build pipelines toward higher wages in in-demand career pathways, improve financial literacy and access to financial resources, and dismantle barriers to work and education. Women Forward NYC will also address sexual, chronic, and reproductive health; reduce Black and Brown maternal mortality rates; improve access to comprehensive medical treatment; and enhance mental health education and outreach. Lastly, the plan will increase initiatives that reduce violence toward women, particularly LGBTQ+ women, nonbinary New Yorkers, and women of color; expand interventions to prevent domestic violence and support survivors; and provide a continuum of services for low-income families to keep them in their homes or accelerate their exit from shelter and back into their communities.

Finally, building on Mayor Adams’ announcement earlier this week that the city will invest $18 million to purchase and forgive more than $2 billion in medical debt held by approximately 500,000 working-class New Yorkers, the city will embed additional financial counselors in New York City hospitals — helping New Yorkers in need understand the options available to them to avoid medical debt in the first place and stop the vicious cycle of excessive medical debt before it begins.

In 2023, under the leadership of New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. and New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) President Eric Enderlin, the city’s housing agencies financed more than 27,000 affordable homes — fueled by the creation of more new affordable homes (a record), more housing for those who formerly experienced homelessness (a record), and more supportive housing than any year in the city’s history (a record). Through partnerships across HPD, HDC, the New York City Department of Social Services led by Commissioner Molly Wasow Park, and the New York City Department of City Planning led by Director Dan Garodnick, the Adams administration also connected a record number of families and formerly homeless individuals to affordable housing in 2023, advanced historic projects like the transformation of Willets Point — the city’s largest 100-percent affordable housing project in 40 years — and proposed the most pro-housing changes in the history of the city’s zoning code through Mayor Adams’ “City of Yes for Housing Opportunity” plan.

While the Adams administration continues to advocate for state lawmakers to create a new tax incentive for affordable housing, a pathway to make basement and cellar apartments safe and legal, a tax incentive to convert underused offices into affordable homes, and the lifting of a cap on density for new construction, it will also double down on its efforts to combat the housing crisis at the local level. Today, Mayor Adams launched “24 in 24,” a plan to advance 24 affordable housing projects on public sites in 2024 that will ultimately create or preserve over 12,000 units of housing through partnerships across HPD, NYCEDC, and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), among other agencies.

Additionally, to help New Yorkers stay in their homes, the Adams administration will create a Tenant Protection Cabinet, bringing together more than a dozen agencies and mayoral offices focused on supporting tenants. Similar to the administration’s Cabinet for Older New Yorkers, the Tenant Protection Cabinet will allow city agencies to seek coordination and efficiency across departments, leverage resources, and shape current and future services to better protect tenants and keep New Yorkers in their homes. To support New Yorkers at risk of being displaced from their homes in all five boroughs, the administration will also expand the Homeowner Help Desk, which will reach an estimated 160,000 New Yorkers through outreach and events, one-on-one assistance, and stabilization. Finally, for the first time in 15 years, the administration will reopen the NYCHA Section 8 voucher waitlist later this year, aiming to issue 1,000 vouchers per month.

Last year, Mayor Adams and New York City Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor David Banks launched “New York City Reads” — a major citywide campaign to declare literacy and reading instruction as the core focus and overriding priority of New York City’s public schools. As a result, the administration increased test scores while decreasing racial disparities in results, while simultaneously increasing enrollment for the first time in eight years. Additionally, Mayor Adams continued his administration’s investment in accessible career pipelines by releasing a $600 million roadmap to build inclusive pathways for up to 250,000 of the city’s young people to discover their passion, receive hands-on career experience, and ultimately enter the workforce.

Starting this school year, the city will bring New York City Reads’ phonics-based methods and the science of reading to every early childhood and elementary school student in the city’s public schools, building on the initial rollout completed last year to half of the city’s school districts. In her State of the State Address earlier this month, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the state will follow in New York City’s footsteps and will bring a similar approach to literacy across New York State.

Finally, Mayor Adams will continue to advocate for four years of mayoral accountability over New York City public schools, which Governor Hochul announced her support for in both her State of the State and Executive Budget addresses.

Making the City More Livable for All New Yorkers

Understanding that public spaces are where communities are built, culture is fostered, and opportunities are created, Mayor Adams committed $375 million to creating new, vibrant public spaces in his 2023 State of the City address. To further that effort, he appointed Ya-Ting Liu as the city’s first-ever chief public realm officer and launched visionary projects to create new public spaces. Mayor Adams also signed the country’s largest permanent outdoor dining program into law to create better, cleaner, and more accessible sidewalk and roadway cafes and significantly expanded open street programs during the holiday and summer seasons.

To keep the city’s public spaces clean and transform what it feels like to be outside in New York City, Mayor Adams and New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) Commissioner Jessica Tisch launched efforts to containerize 100 percent of businesses’ trash and all residential trash from buildings with nine or fewer units. Additionally, Mayor Adams anointed Kathleen Corradi as the city’s first-ever citywide director of rodent mitigation to work in coordination with city agencies to reduce the rat population in New York City. After decades of inaction, the administration implemented a new rule in April to drastically reduce the time trash bags could sit on city streets. All these efforts, including the city’s move towards containerization and the administration’s whole-of-government approach, have helped drive down rat sightings — after DSNY’s new curbside trash set-out times went into effect in April, rat sighting complaints are down 7 percent citywide since May and down 20 percent in 2023 in rat mitigation zones. Building on the progress made over the course of the past two years, the city will expand its Harlem on-street containerization pilot and set the city on a path to getting every single black trash bag off of New York City streets.

Mayor Adams also announced today that the city will partner with Tony Hawk, The Skatepark Project, Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, and members of the New York City Council to build and refurbish four major skateparks in Brooklyn and the Bronx: Bronx Park and Soundview Park in the Bronx and Mt. Prospect Park and Brower Park in Brooklyn.

Finally, in partnership with New York State, the administration will invest a total of $55 million to transform Kimlau Plaza in Chinatown, redesigning a chaotic intersection and finally giving one of New York City’s most historic districts the entrance it deserves.

Mayor Adams continues to lead the nation in fighting climate change, as New York City cuts emissions and protects its residents against heat, flooding, and storms. Outlining the administration’s vision for this work, Mayor Adams released a long-term strategic climate plan to protect New Yorkers from climate threats and build the city’s green economy. The administration advanced this work with significant efforts, such as expanding the bluebelt program, including the recently-completed New Creek Bluebelt on Staten Island, to create large ponds that absorb water during torrential storms — reducing household flooding and saving lives. The administration also continued to make significant infrastructure investments to protect New Yorkers from extreme weather, including in neighborhoods on the Brooklyn/Queens border, and invested $390 million in green infrastructure to support the fight against extreme rainfall and coastal flooding by expanding the city’s “Cloudburst Program.” To continue to cement New York City’s position as a leader in sustainability solutions, Mayor Adams unveiled plans for the first-in-the-nation climate research, education, and jobs hub on Governors Island.

This year, Mayor Adams will break ground on the Battery Coastal Resiliency initiative, a critical, $200 million component of the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency project. Battery Coastal Resiliency will rebuild and elevate the wharf promenade in The Battery, staying true to the character and uses of the park while protecting against projected sea level rise. The project will focus on sustainability and use strategies to reduce carbon footprint, including reusing existing materials in final construction and using low-embodied carbon materials.

Additionally, Mayor Adams announced that the city will invest $450 million in federal resiliency grants, including $310 million received in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida to start a range of projects that will make New York City more resilient in the face of climate change. Those projects will include financial counseling and flood insurance assistance for small homeowners and renters, restoring public housing developments, subsidizing resiliency measures in one- to four-unit and multifamily housing, expanding the city’s green infrastructure network, protecting critical infrastructure from flooding, and strengthening communities through emergency preparedness training.

Finally, the administration will implement a five-borough bluebelt strategy, ensuring that New Yorkers across the city are protected by these ecologically rich and cost-effective large-scale drainage systems that naturally handle the runoff precipitation that falls on streets and sidewalks.

The full text of Mayor Adams’ remarks, as prepared for delivery, is provided below:

My fellow New Yorkers, thank you. And thank you all for believing in New York City.

Our city has always been about what is possible — a place where you can start a business, start a family, start a movement, make your mark. A place where you can make it.

Fifty years ago, that happened right here in the Bronx, when a new generation of New Yorkers created a new kind of music: hip-hop. Now, a place once known for urban blight is famous for being the birthplace of the most transformative musical genre of all time and a thriving community that is home to nearly 1.5 million New Yorkers from all over the globe.

Here, at Hostos Community College, it is also a place to find your way forward with a world-class education — just like our very own Deputy Mayor Almanzar, a proud Hostos graduate.

Speaking of Hostos, I want to thank CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez and the president of Hostos, Dr. Daisy Cocco De Filippis for having us here today. And I also want to thank all of our colleagues in government who work hard every day in Washington, D.C., and Albany to help us ‘Get Stuff Done’ for New Yorkers: Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Congressman Jerry Nadler and the entire New York City congressional delegation, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. And I want to thank all our partners who serve in Congress, the State Senate, State Assembly, and City Council, including so many who were able to join us today, including [acknowledgements]. I also want to thank all of our administration officials for being here today, as well as our brothers and sisters at 32BJ, HTC, and all our other partners in labor.

Think about it: When we came into office two years ago, we had a clear mission: protect public safety, rebuild our economy, and make this city more livable.

wo years in, we are seeing real results. Crime is down, jobs are up, and every day, we are delivering for working-class New Yorkers. Just look at the numbers. We’ve taken over 14,000 illegal guns off our streets, driven down the number of shootings and homicides by double digits, gotten 4 million people back on our subways, and welcomed almost 62 million tourists back to our hotels, theaters, and restaurants.

We have created 270,000 private-sector jobs, worked with our brothers and sisters in labor to get them the pay and the benefits they deserve, and delivered long-overdue raises for independent contractors, gig workers, and deliveristas.

We unlocked billions for home repairs through the NYCHA Preservation Trust, drove down the cost of subsidized childcare by almost 90 percent, increased public school enrollment, boosted test scores, and revolutionized how we are teaching kids to read.

We protected women’s health and freedom by expanding abortion access that has been denied in other states and extended individual liberty to those in the LGBTQ+ community with our landmark executive order to protect gender-affirming care in New York City.

We built more parks, paths, and recreation space; got garbage bags off our streets and into bins; and removed miles of unsightly scaffolding that has darkened our doors and blocked our views.

We got all of this done for New York City. And we did it while marshaling our entire city government to respond to the asylum seeker humanitarian crisis. This was a team effort.

And thanks to the hard work of this administration and millions of dedicated New Yorkers, the state of our city is strong — far stronger than it was two years ago.

I want to thank every hard-working New Yorker out there for helping bring our city back from the brink. That includes members of our nonprofit sector. From stepping up during the pandemic to sheltering our asylum seekers, their work has supported and defined our city.

I also want to thank our city workforce for your dedication. Our police officers, social workers, firefighters, teachers, sanitation workers, transit workers, and health care heroes have given their all to keep our city moving in the right direction. Let’s hear it for Team New York!

We have so much to be proud of — but this success was not guaranteed. When we came into office two years ago, our economy was in freefall. A global pandemic had decimated our businesses and emptied our streets. Crime was up; confidence was down. During our first month in office, in one week alone, Detectives Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora were murdered, multiple officers were victims of gun violence, and an 11-month-old baby was shot in the head.

It was hard not to give up hope after a week like that. New Yorkers were rightfully concerned about their safety, their security, and their families.

Our first order of business was clear: get crime under control, keep New Yorkers safe, and get back to normal after so much trouble and trauma.

Our strategy is working. We have supported our law enforcement officers in every way possible, from improved training to higher pay and better benefits; we have surged police officers throughout our streets and our subways; and we are making progress on the fentanyl crisis, car theft, retail crimes, and more.

Our city has gotten safer, but we need people to feel safe, too. New Yorkers should not have to worry about crime, disorder, and their quality of life. And they shouldn’t have to worry about things like illegal smoke shops selling cannabis to their children. Legal cannabis remains the right choice for our city and our state, but New Yorkers are fed up with these illegal storefronts and their unlawful business practices.

To get them shut down once and for all, we need Albany’s help. I want to thank Governor Hochul and all our elected partners who are fighting to give us the power to shut down these illegal smokeshops. Give us the proper authority, and we will get the job done.

New Yorkers must also be able to live, work, and worship without fear. But at this moment, many of us are still worried about hate crimes and the rising tide of antisemitism and Islamophobia.

Hate has no place here in New York, and our police officers are committed to protecting every community. But I want to be clear: While we will always respect the right to peaceful protest, those who violate the law will be held accountable.

We are committed to keeping the peace, in every sense of the word — that is why you elected me as your mayor and what I am determined to deliver for you every day.

Public safety means public trust, too. Our police officers are always held to the highest possible standards — but when a civilian brings a complaint, we must act more swiftly to resolve the matter. Right now, some internal discipline cases in our police department can take as long as a year to resolve, if not more.

That is far too long. This year, the NYPD will further reform their internal case process to cut that time in half — setting stricter timelines so that cases do not languish for months and eliminating redundancies to make government more responsive to the needs of our citizens.

Public safety is also about safer streets for pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, and delivery workers. New Yorkers welcome the future of transit and new electronic technologies — but we cannot have mopeds speeding down our sidewalks and forcing people to jump out of the way. We must also protect the drivers and delivery workers who show up for New Yorkers at all times of day and in all kinds of weather.

That is why we are in discussion with the City Council to create the “Department of Sustainable Delivery,” a first-in-the-nation entity that will regulate new forms of delivery transit and ensure their safety. We will combine work that is now spread over multiple agencies, establishing goals and guidelines on everything from traffic safety to corporate accountability — all while cutting down our city’s carbon footprint.

This department will also build on the work we have done to protect New Yorkers from the dangers of lithium-ion batteries. Our administration banned the sale of uncertified e-vehicles and refurbished batteries, but with the Department of Sustainable Delivery, we will be able to do much more, including educating riders and enforcing safety standards for lithium-ion batteries. New Yorkers must know that their city is looking out for them, because traffic safety is public safety.

New Yorkers care about public safety first and foremost, because it is the foundation on which our prosperity is built. It is a simple formula: When crime goes down, jobs go up. When crime goes down, tourism goes up. When crime goes down, our quality of life goes up. And when all these things go up, there is no stopping New York City.

Crime down, jobs up. Finally, something 8.3 million New Yorkers can agree on.

We now have the most private-sector jobs in New York City history: 4.1 million. New York City has recovered all of the private-sector jobs we lost during the pandemic — more than a year ahead of projections. And one in six New York City businesses has opened since the start of this administration.

Our city is determined to support our entrepreneurs, and with our record-setting $75 million Small Business Opportunity Fund, we have been able to do just that.

Chef Jay Lee is the owner of Nowan, a popular Korean American bar and restaurant in the East Village. When Chef Lee wanted to open a new location in Brooklyn, regular banks wouldn’t give him a fair shake. Through the SBS Opportunity Fund, Chef Lee was able to get the small business loan he needed at an affordable interest rate, and now he is employing over 50 New Yorkers and serving up his legendary kimchi cheeseburgers in the East Village and Bushwick.

Chef, I want to thank you for working so hard to create jobs and keep New York the greatest restaurant city in the world. And I will be having the vegan mushroom noodles when I stop by.

New York will remain the city where people come to make it. This is the destination for young people to start their careers, for immigrants to build a better life, start a business, and live the American Dream. That dream is what draws so many to our shores and our city, and we are proud to uphold our legacy of welcoming the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

The asylum humanitarian crisis may not be over, but New Yorkers can be proud that we have demonstrated leadership and compassion, when so many others showed only cowardice and cruelty. Over the past two years, we have helped more than 172,000 asylum seekers by providing food, medical care, and shelter. Of those, we’ve helped almost 105,000 take the next steps in their journeys and get on the path to self-sufficiency. We have helped tens of thousands file applications to extend Temporary Protected Status, seek asylum, and obtain work authorization.

We are proud we have done our part, but we need others to do theirs. The federal government must step up and step in. This is a national crisis that calls for a national solution, so that our newest arrivals can contribute to our economy, like the generations of immigrants before them.

The same harbor that has welcomed immigrants in the past will be a place of even more opportunity going forward. We are transforming the waterfronts and shorelines that first made New York the economic engine of this nation into the “Harbor of the Future.”

It begins here in the Bronx at Hunts Point Market, the largest food distribution center in the world, which, thanks to our investments, will soon be run entirely on renewable energy. Next stop is Kips Bay, where we are turning an entire New York City block into a state-of-the-art destination for life sciences and health. Continuing our journey, the Brooklyn Navy Yard will provide new spaces for startups that will take us into the future of sustainability and green tech. And on Governors Island, the New York Climate Exchange will be home to our first-in-the-nation center focused on climate research and job training.

With this administration, Staten Island is no longer “the forgotten borough.” The Harbor of the Future includes the North Shore of Staten Island, where we are building a vibrant mixed-use waterfront community that will explore new kinds of urban design and create 7,500 jobs.

And today, we are excited to announce a new investment in the sixth project: $100 million for the Climate Innovation Hub at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. This hub will bring business development, incubation, and research to a 4-million-square-foot campus, turning Sunset Park into a center for clean tech innovation and manufacturing. Over the coming years, the Harbor of the Future will create 53,000 temporary and permanent new jobs, generate $95 billion in economic impact, and establish New York City as the global destination for green technology, innovation, and opportunity.

All of these efforts are part of our Green Economy Action Plan, which we will roll out in the weeks to come.

The green economy is already here and is expected to support a total of 400,000 jobs by the year 2040. That’s a big number, but I think we can go even bigger. This is a city where records are made to be broken.

Right now, projections have us reaching 5 million total jobs by the end of 2026 — but if I know this team and this city, I know we can defy expectations. So, I am charging us with getting there a year ahead of schedule: 5 million jobs in 2025. Five in 25 — this will take all of us, especially our partners in the private sector, but I am confident we can make it there.

More jobs mean more prosperity for every New Yorker — because all New Yorkers deserve to share in our city’s success. This is why our administration made a record $6 billion-plus investment in minority- and women-owned businesses; funded new programs that ensure that older New Yorkers can work, learn, and volunteer in the city they love; and help New Yorkers living with disabilities connect with jobs and opportunities.

We will soon release a $40 million roadmap to make New York a better place for women to work, live, and thrive. Our “Women Forward” plan will offer important new services and benefits to the women of our city. That will include expanded access to maternal mental health care, improved screening for postpartum depression, and help for women in need — including domestic violence survivors, women in shelters, and women leaving incarceration.

Next to public safety, there is no greater anxiety for the average New Yorker than being priced out of their home or their neighborhood. I know because I’ve been there. As a young man in South Jamaica, Queens, my siblings and I carried trash bags filled with clothes to school, because our mom was worried that we would be forced onto the streets without warning and wouldn’t have a change of clothing.

Too often, I wondered if I would come home to a roof over my head or a door slammed in my face. That kind of experience never leaves you.

Every day as mayor, I think about how our city can keep this from happening to other New Yorkers. We are committed to helping New Yorkers stay in their homes or find a new one if needed — including people like Jenny De Costa from Staten Island. Hurricane Ida wrecked Jenny’s apartment in 2021, with water coming all the way up to her bed, flooding her kitchen, and creating a serious mold problem. But our city was there for her, helping her find a new place to live in the Castleton Affordable Housing Development through Housing Connect.

Getting more people like Jenny the housing they need is one of the biggest challenges we face going forward. It is no secret that this city and this nation are facing a massive housing crisis. Sixty years of injustice and underdevelopment have brought us to the brink.

It is time for a powerful new housing agenda — one that acknowledges the need to build more housing is more important than preserving the old way of doing things.

Over the past year, we have made record-breaking progress on multiple fronts: the most new affordable homes financed in city history (a record), the most New Yorkers connected to affordable homes (a record), and the most homes created for New Yorkers who used to be homeless (a record).

Now is the time to aim even higher.That is why we have a moonshot goal of building 500,000 housing units over the next decade, and we need everyone — developers, citizens, community boards, and our partners in Albany and on the City Council — to help get us there.

We cannot say “no” to our neighbors and our fellow New Yorkers. We must be a “City of Yes” — “yes” in my backyard, “yes” on my block, “yes” in my city. That is why we introduced our “City of Yes for Housing Opportunity” plan to build a little more housing in every neighborhood. And we’re excited for the City Council to say “yes” to this plan later this year.

We also need our state legislators to step up and deliver a plan that will change how we build from the ground up. That means incentives for affordable housing development, including a new version of the 421-A program and legislation to help convert up to 136 million square feet of unused office space into affordable housing for hardworking New Yorkers.

Governor Hochul was right in her State of the State address: New York City must build. And we need Albany to clear the way for the housing we need now. Let us build.

Our next big initiative: “24 in 24.” In 2024, our housing agencies will advance 24 development projects on public sites to create or preserve over 12,000 units. We will help more people get into homes — and stay in their homes once they are there. Later this year, for the first time in 15 years, we will reopen the NYCHA Section 8 voucher waitlist, aiming to issue 1,000 vouchers a month. We will also launch a new Tenant Protection Cabinet to help more people stay in the homes they already have and expand our Homeowner Help Desk pilot, which connects homeowners with resources and counseling to prevent deed theft.

We are going to keep New Yorkers in their homes and on their blocks — but we need Albany’s help. We support the governor’s efforts to pass legislation that will create a new crime: deed theft. And we must give New York Attorney General Letitia James more power to prosecute deed theft cases.

In addition to fighting deed theft, we want to take on other financial practices that are drowning New Yorkers in unpayable debts. On Monday, we announced that we are cancelling over $2 billion in medical debt for up to half a million working-class New Yorkers. This is life-changing policy that will keep money in New Yorkers’ pockets. Families should not have to choose between food, heat, rent, and paying down their medical debt. Thanks to this administration and RIP Medical Debt, they will not have to. We are pairing this one-time debt forgiveness with support to stop New Yorkers from getting loaded up with medical debt. We’re going to invest in having on-site financial counselors within hospitals across New York City, so that New Yorkers can stay out of medical debt in the first place.

It’s all part of this administration’s strategy to go to the source of ongoing problems, making changes upstream to create better results downstream. Nowhere is that more important than in our schools. This past year, we launched New York City Reads, an updated curriculum that teaches our kids the fundamentals of reading, including how to decode words. It used to be called phonics, but today, it is known as the “science of reading.”

This is more than a curriculum change — this is a reading revolution. A revolution that is helping children like Dallas Buie, a fourth grader at P.S. 325 in East New York. Dallas used to be shy and she struggled to read. But thanks to New York City Reads, her teacher, Ms. Deseree Easton, was able to give her the guidance and coaching she needed. Today, Dallas has a book with her everywhere she goes. Thank you, Dallas, and thank you, Ms. Easton, for being there to help our children succeed.

We are going to help the rest of our students read to succeed, too. New York City Reads is already in over 90 percent of our early childhood system and across nearly half of our K-5 classes. And starting this September, this curriculum will be used in every early childhood and elementary classroom across our city. This month, Governor Hochul announced that she is also bringing the science of reading to every school district across the state.

New York City has long been a leader when it comes to world-class public education, but we want to do more — including making sure our young people can seamlessly transition to college or the job market. We are giving students a head start with our Summer Rising and Summer Youth Employment programs, and we are equipping them with paid work experiences, career discovery programs, and professional mentorship.

Let’s continue the success we’ve seen in our schools so far — with higher reading and math scores — by extending four more years of mayoral accountability.

We know academic preparation is essential to our children’s future, but so is mental health. We are proud of all we have done to promote mental health, in and out of the classroom. Last year, we launched Teenspace to help young people connect with a licensed therapist over phone, video, or text. So far, over 1,500 children have used this free service, and we will continue to get our students the help they need in a way that works for them.

We also need to protect our students from harm online, including the growing dangers presented by social media. Companies like TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook are fueling a mental health crisis by designing their platforms with addictive and dangerous features. We cannot stand by and let Big Tech monetize our children’s privacy and jeopardize their mental health.

That’s why today, Dr. Ashwin Vasan is issuing a Health Commissioner’s Advisory, officially designating social media as a public health hazard in New York City. We are the first major American city to take this step and call out the danger of social media like this. Just as the surgeon general did with tobacco and guns, we are treating social media like other public health hazards and ensuring that tech companies take responsibility for their products. You’ll be hearing more about this soon.

Everybody knows that New York City is the greatest city in the world, but we’re also one of the greenest, too. Thanks to our transit and our density, our city has a head start on sustainability — and we don’t intend to give it up.

This year, we will break ground on a $200 million coastal resiliency project to protect Lower Manhattan from the next Superstorm Sandy, while preserving green space for New Yorkers. We are also protecting our city from flash floods and extreme rainfall by extending water management infrastructure to every corner of the city — including rain gardens, drainage ponds, and holding tanks that will keep our streets clear and our basements dry. We have secured $450 million from our federal partners to build a more resilient New York, as part of a record $1 billion in federal infrastructure money that will go to build a better city.

We are committed to keeping our city safe and resilient — but also beautiful and enjoyable. From clearing out the illegal vendors who were overcrowding the Brooklyn Bridge, to getting building owners to finally take down decades-old sheds, to planting over 60,000 new trees, we are creating a more vibrant, open, and accessible New York City for all to enjoy.

Working with our partners in the City Council, we established “Dining Out NYC,” creating clear rules so outdoor dining setups work for restaurants, for diners, for neighbors, and for our streets.

Most importantly, we kept those streets cleaner than ever, with major new initiatives around trash containerization and rat reduction. By removing those mountains of black bags on the sidewalks, our city closed down the rat buffet once and for all. And as a result, we are seeing major reductions in rat complaints citywide.

That’s right — the rats hate it. They are moving on and moving out.

Soon, we’ll be taking our sanitation strategy to the next level, by bringing containerization to our high-density buildings and taking steps to take every single black trash bag off our streets. Every single bag.

Getting outdoor dining done, getting scaffolding down, getting bags off our streets. This is not just about defeating rats — this is about reimagining the urban experience for all New Yorkers.

And we are going to continue to transform our city for the better, including a complete makeover of Kimlau Plaza in Chinatown and a plan to build and refurbish four major public skate parks right here in the Bronx and in Brooklyn.

Our entrepreneurial drive and creative spirit have taken us far over the years, especially the last two of them. But we have a long way to go in so many ways. Our city is full of questions and contradictions — the safest big city in America but one where too many feel vulnerable and afraid; a place where the economy is booming but too many are not getting their fair share. These contradictions and so many others are what we are working to change. History shows us what kind of progress is possible when New Yorkers work together, and as mayor, I never forget that I am part of a much bigger story of revolution and resilience.

This year, we will start planning for a major milestone in history: the 400th anniversary of the founding of New York City. 2025 will be a year to look back on how far we have come in four centuries and celebrate the enduring spirit of our city. What began four centuries ago as a Dutch trading village on Lenape land has grown into the global capital of politics, commerce, and culture — a great city made up of my favorite people on earth: my fellow New Yorkers.

Thanks to you and the work we have done together, New York City will remain a place where anyone has the opportunity to make it — even a young man named Eric Adams from South Jamaica, Queens.

Down at City Hall, I see the portraits of many who served our city, state, and nation. They may not have foreseen the skyscrapers or the airports, Times Square or Madison Square Garden, jazz, blues, hip-hop, or a mayor who looks like me. But they knew that this was a place to create a new kind of city — a place that could endlessly reinvent itself, getting better each time. A place that welcomes the world and looks to the future. A place where anyone can make it — a business, a dream, a goal, a career, a family, a life.

You can make it anywhere, sure — but making it here means something. The last two years have been a time of renewal and resetting. Now, let’s make the future together.

Thank you, New York!

Photo credit: 1-3) Politics.

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