Mayor Takes On Affordable Housing

| 17 Feb 2015 | 01:05

De Blasio's housing initiative includes an investment of $41 billion

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a 10-year plan to expand and protect affordable housing in New York City.

According to the mayor's office, a $41 billion investment will yield 80,000 new and 120,000 preserved units of affordable housing in the next decade. The city will propose to double the Deptartment of Housing Preservation and Development's capital budget in 2015 and will also overhaul the development process so projects face fewer unnecessary barriers and delays.

The mayor's office said the 115-page plan was put together with input from 13 city agencies and includes over 50 initiatives.

Another major component of the plan is the implementation of mandatory inclusionary zoning, which says all re-zonings taking place in the city that could substantially increase an area's housing capacity must include a portion that's permanently affordable to low or moderate-income households. The city will also launch affordable housing programs for very low and middle-income New Yorkers.

"This is a plan that takes on our crisis of affordability from every angle. We are linking our housing strategies with our work to spur economic development, deliver good jobs, and revitalize neighborhoods," said Alicia Glen, deputy mayor for Housing and Economic Development. "We are committed to innovating new ways for government and the private sector to work together to realize these ambitious goals."

The mayor's office said it proposes to double HPD's capital fund as part of the 2015 budget - to over $2.5 billion - which would substantially contribute to and support the city's affordable housing stock. Another component of the plan involves, "stemming the tide of rent deregulation and protecting tenants."

Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, a development industry trade organization, said de Blasio's plan, "identifies the problems and provides a realistic roadmap for solutions," and that the organization looks forward to working on implementing the plan's objectives.

However, he has said he won't support any initiative that changes the affordable housing component to near 50 percent for new development projects. Currently, developers looking to building the city must adhere to a 20 percent affordable housing component for their projects.

The plan was announced soon after Comptroller Scott Stringer's office unveiled a report claiming that families who make $40,000-a-year or less, "literally may not be able to find an apartment they can afford." The report noted that median rents in New York City rose 75 percent from 2000 to 2012, even as median incomes declined in the same period due to the recession.

To view a complete copy of the mayor's plan, called "Housing New York: A Five-Borough, Ten-Year Plan," visit