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de BLASIO SHOOTS FOR 300,000 UNITS

Photographer/Mayoral Photography Office

The de Blasio administration increases goal to building and preserving 300,000 affordable units by 2026. On October 24, 2017, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the administration is on track with meeting the goal of 200,000 units and is expected to meet the goal by 2022, two years ahead of the 2014 plan’s original date. Using the City’s new tools, programs and funding, the City will work to secure 25,000 affordable units annually by 2021. With the new annual goal in place, the Mayor announced a new goal of building and preserving 300,000 affordable units by 2026, adding 100,000 additional units to his original goal.

In order to take on the new goal, the Mayor will unveil new programs to targeting seniors, homeowners and tenants in existing affordable housing who need protection. An additional $150 million annual investment will be required in the current 4-year financial plan to be able to accommodate the building and preserving of 100,000 more units.

One of the new programs, the Neighborhood Pillars Program, plans to set up a $275 million public-private fund to target neighborhoods that are of interest to speculators who pose a threat to traditional rent regulated apartment buildings. Under this program, the Department of Housing Preservation and Housing Development Corporation will provide financing to non-profits and other mission-driven organizations to purchase older rent-regulated building to keep them affordable and keep current tenants in place. The goal is to protect tenants from being put at risk from illegal rent hikes, harassment or eviction. The program will leverage funding from private-sector banking partners and philanthropic organizations and is expected to secure an additional 1,000 affordable units per year. The Mayor announced this program in light of criticism of his housing plan in regards to land and neighborhoods such as Bedford-Stuyvesant and Bushwick that were not rezoned in the plan. The Mayor states that the Neighborhood Pillars Program is a new tool the City plans to use to tackle the issues that have risen from the original plan.

Since unveiling his housing plan, de Blasio and his administration has secured 77,651 affordable units and has developed new programs which allow the City to build and protect more than 20,000 affordable units per year. With de Blasio’s new annual target of securing 25,000 affordable units per year, the City has a 66% jump from pre-2014 levels in affordable home preservation and development and is a level that has never been achieved by the City. With the new announced plan, the Mayor hopes to raise the number of affordable units in the city within the next nine years.

This ambitious plan from the de Blasio administration stems from the need for affordable housing in the City. During his announcement, the Mayor stated that “[the] affordable housing plan is all about – making sure that everyday people can stay in the city they love, in the neighborhood they love” and he wants to ensure that his promises to the City and its residents are kept. With his new goals in place, the Mayor aims to “[build] an engine that will keep families in safe, decent and affordable homes for decades to come… [that] will keep this a city for seniors, veterans, working families and the middle class.”

During the announcement, the Mayor credited Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen and her team for helping implement and carry out the housing plan thus far. When speaking about the progress of the plan, Deputy Mayor Glen mentioned the importance and significance of the progress and stated that “[c]ompleting this plan two years early means tens of thousands more families will come home sooner to homes they can afford. I am so proud of our agency teams and all our partners who are building an engine for affordable housing that will continue building and protecting homes for years to come.”

Both Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer and Housing Development Corporation President Eric Enderlin lauded the new accelerated goals and have dedicated their teams to working towards fulfilling this plan by 2026. Commissioner Torres-Springer stated that the Housing Preservation and Development is “excited to act even more boldly and decisively by tackling this new, more aggressive goal and by deploying more tools to safeguard affordability.” Commissioner Enderlin stated that the Housing Development Corporation and their partners have “set a solid course to reach the ambitious goals of Housing New York and are primed to amplify our production of affordable housing to reach even more New Yorkers in need.”

In response to the Mayor’s announcement, several elected officials were pleased at the progress of the plan and were supportive of the new goals and believed that it was a step in solving the housing crisis in the City. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams thanked the Mayor for advancing the City’s goals and for the Mayor’s various efforts and financial investment in the plan. Council Members from across the city, like Land Use Committee Chair, David Greenfield and Finance Committee Chair, Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, congratulated the Mayor on his accomplishment and are looking forward to seeing the further progress of his plan.

During the press conference, the Mayor thanked the community organizations that he has partnered with over the years to implement the housing plan. He thanked the organizations for their outstanding work in outreach and involving the community in order to provide more housing for the city. Joanne Oplustil, President and CEO of CAMBA, stated that CAMBA is proud to partner up with the city and to meet and exceed the housing goals. Furthermore, President Oplustil stated that the CAMBA Gardens 2 development is a “perfect example of what can be created when innovation meets initiative” and states that the organization “looks forward to developing and preserving affordable housing in New York City to accomplish [the Mayor’s] housing goal.”

Representatives from St. Nicks Alliance and Breaking Ground praised the Mayor for his commitment to further work with non-profit organizations and to use mission driven, community based support to further the housing goals. After advocating for more community driven support and involvement in the housing plan, organizations feel that the Mayor’s proposed Neighborhood Pillars program and his commitment to non-profit organizational support will allow both parties to reach their goals of providing more housing opportunities to those who need it most.

In the following days, the City will expect to see more announcements from his office in regards to more projects, programs, and initiatives to further his housing plan. With three years of his plan under his belt and his progress thus far, the City and its people will look forward to seeing the Mayor’s progress and his plan unfold to protect what he deems “the greatest city in the world.”

Click here to read the Mayor’s Press Release and here to read the transcript from the Press Conference.

By: May Vutrapongvatana (May is a CityLaw Intern and a New York Law School Student, Class of 2019.)

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