NYC Affordable Housing Moving In the Right Direction

Across New York City everyone can agree that we are in a desperate need to create more housing, especially affordable rental housing. Finding a safe, quality, and affordable home can be a constant struggle for any working family and it’s created a crisis that we are constantly grappling with. Fortunately, there’s been progress achieved by both state and local policy makers.

Mayor de Blasio announced that his administration is on a record pace of building and protecting affordable housing across the five boroughs. The announcement serves as an update on the mayor’s 10-year Housing New York Plan, which seeks to create or preserve 200,000 homes. Since its inception in January 2014, the plan has already financed a total of 77,651 affordable homes, with 24,293 affordable homes and apartments secured in Fiscal Year 2017.

The 77,651 affordable homes underway include the highest total production in any three-year period in the history of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).  According to the mayor’s office, one-third of all affordable housing financed will reach New Yorkers making less than $33,400 for an individual, or $43,000 for a family of three.  The total direct City investment under the housing plan is $2.8 billion, and total bond financing is up to $5.5 billion.

Earlier this year, the de Blasio administration allocated $1.9 billion in City subsidy to ensure 50,000 affordable homes for the lowest-income New Yorkers, with specific commitments for seniors and veterans. The de Blasio administration deserves credit for the amount of time and resources that have been put into housing for New York’s growing population – especially for low income families that struggle under the burden of rent.

These numbers are certainly encouraging, but REBNY strongly believes that we need to make the creation of new housing a top priority. This not only includes focusing on building enough housing to meet demand at all income levels, but also building housing in virtually every neighborhood in New York. In this regard, the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Program (MIH) has been an integral element of the administration’s neighborhood rezonings, which began with the approval of a plan in East New York and continue with many other rezonings in neighborhoods throughout the city that would increase affordable housing production citywide.

In April, Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers enacted the Affordable New York Housing Program, formerly known as 421-a, which restored tax exemption benefits for new residential construction. This important program will result in the production of substantially more affordable rental housing, jobs, and economic growth that is critical to New York City’s future.

For the sake of every hardworking New York family and the people who want to move here, the current pace of creation, preservation, and neighborhood rezonings must continue. We have always been an evolving city, and as our population grows we need to do our best to ensure that everyone in every neighborhood has access to an affordable, safe, quality home.

A breakdown of the affordable housing numbers released by the Mayor’s office can be found here.

New Yorkers looking for more information or who are interested in applying for affordable housing can visit nyc.gov/housing connect or connect by phone by calling 311.