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Affordable Housing

Affordable Housing

  • Does the State have the Conviction and Commitment to End Homelessness?

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    Affordable Housing in East Harlem (Sophie Hecht)


    The week of June 26, over 70 San Francisco media outlets came together to report on homelessness in the Bay Area. The collaboration, the San Francisco Homeless Project, produced over 300 local articles, videos, and radio and television segments, as well as similar collaborations in cities across the U.S. and internationally.

    Within this much deserved media coverage is the sentiment of a former San Francisco mayor, which may describe what ails our approach to the homelessness crisis here in New York State.

    The San Francisco

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  • Assessing the Aftermath: Top Takeaways for NYC from 2016 Albany Session

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    De Blasio and Cuomo in 2014; photo via The Governor's Office


    Mayor Bill de Blasio has made it clear that he feels like he’s often fighting for New York City’s interests against both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Senate Republicans, with Assembly Democrats as his key allies. In his initial statement reacting to the recent end of the 2016 legislative session in Albany, de Blasio put a thank you to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and company at the forefront, never mentioned Cuomo, and gave his take on what he assessed as a mixed bag

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  • Mixed Bag in Latest Government Efforts Fighting Homelessness, Providers Say

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    On Thursday, June 23, the two leaders of Coalition for the Homeless, Mary Brosnahan and Shelly Nortz, talked with Ben Max of Gotham Gazette and Jarrett Murphy of City Limits about where things stand in terms of city and state efforts to curb homelessness. The discussion centered around the recent end of legislative session in Albany and the fate of nearly $2 billion in state money dedicated, but not released, for homelessness prevention and affordable housing. City efforts to improve homelessness prevention, shelter conditions,

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  • Protecting the Soul of Flushing, and Beyond

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    132-40 Sanford Ave in Flushing, a Treetop Development-owned rent-stabilized building

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  • Advocates, Providers Keep Pressure on Cuomo Over Housing Funds

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    Gov. Cuomo (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    While the 2016 legislative session may be finished, the battle over how the state will allocate $1.9 billion in funds earmarked for supportive and affordable housing is not. Neither is the feud between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, which includes a front over the housing funds.

    After the end-of-session deal-making among Cuomo and legislative leaders yielded an agreement to release only $150 million of the $1.9 billion pledged in this year’s budget, housing

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  • In Extended Session, Lawmakers Vote Through Variety of Bills with Little Public Review

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    The Capitol Building (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin, Governor's Office)


    Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders finished protracted and messy end-of-session negotiations on Friday night -- one day after the scheduled end of legislative session -- not with the traditional celebratory press conference, but with a series of press releases. Sent to reporters as bills were still being negotiated, printed, and voted upon Friday night, Cuomo’s public schedule for Saturday put him in the New York City area with no events.

    A press release

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  • Deals Emerge as Albany Legislative Session Moves Toward Conclusion

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    photo via The Governor's Office


    After spending most of what was scheduled to be the last day of legislative session in stop-and-start negotiations, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders appeared on Thursday to reach a framework deal on several big-ticket items, though legislators will continue to negotiate, debate, and vote on Friday.

    After a few issues had been decided on Wednesday, concept agreements emerged Thursday on the process of stripping corrupt lawmakers of their pensions; extending mayoral control of New York City schools for

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  • NYCHA Chair Outlines Some Movement Up Steep Hill

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    NYCHA Chair Shola Olatoye (photo: Buck Ennis)


    The head of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), landlord to more than 400,000 New Yorkers and leader of more than 11,000 employees serving about 178,000 apartments in nearly 2,600 buildings, believes that the future of public housing in the city must be driven by the same type of innovation embodied in its early years.

    “Certainly, we must do the basics better,” said Shola Olatoye, NYCHA CEO and Chair, at a breakfast hosted by Crain’s New York Business at the New York Athletic Club on Thursday morning. “But

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  • As Albany Fiddles on 421-A, New York City Suffers

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    Council Member Donovan Richards, the author (photo: William Alatriste)


    With officials in Albany about to pack up and head home, there is still some serious unfinished business.

    Thanks to Albany’s failure to deliver a compromise between real estate and labor interests, it’s clear that we’ll see no movement on one of the most critical tools we have to build affordable housing: 421-A, the tax incentive program.

    What a lot of us hoped was just a six-month pause in adding to the pipeline of new rental housing is at serious risk of

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  • Much Undecided, Last-Minute Frenzy Starts in Albany

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    Albany leaders (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin, Governor's Office)


    The pace has picked up dramatically in Albany, where lawmakers had avoided any major legislative decisions since passing the budget in April. With three days left in session, dozens upon dozens of bills are being introduced, amended, and passed at a fever pace. And while a couple of deals among the governor and legislative leaders have been announced on somewhat high-profile matters, thornier issues still remain unsettled and many bills are likely to only

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  • Fate of $2 Billion in State Housing Funds Unclear as Session Nears End

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    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan (l-r) (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin, The Governor's Office)


    Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature allocated $2 billion to spend on 100,000 units of affordable and supportive housing in this year’s budget, which was agreed to on April 1. But they failed to include specifics -- details of how that money would be spent -- kicking those decisions down the road. Now, two months later, they have yet to sort out the details and many stakeholders are worried no deal is in sight as the major negotiating parties face off over

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  • End of Session Menu Previews Next ‘Big Ugly’ in Albany

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    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan June 2015 (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    Last week, the Senate came to standstill as the star of popular beer commercials came to the Capitol as a guest of Senate Republicans. Legislators of both parties fawned and snapped pictures with Jonathan Goldsmith, of Dos Equis fame. Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan’s office proudly posted a picture of the two men together on Twitter; Democratic legislators quoted catchphrases of “the most interesting man in the world” on the Senate floor. While it's fairly

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  • Top 10 Accomplishments of Progressive Leadership & The Need to #ProtectProgress

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    Council Members Richards, left, and Reynoso, the authors, address a crowd


    As co-chairs of the New York City Council’s Progressive Caucus, we have worked closely with Mayor de Blasio since he took office. It is clear that the mayor has delivered for our constituents and all 8.4 million New Yorkers in transformative ways. From affordable housing to quality jobs to expanded educational programming, New Yorkers are doing better and the scale of the accomplishments is substantial.

    In partnership with our Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, and the City Council, Mayor

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  • Citing Cronyism, Tenant Members Resign from Westchester Rent Board

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    The Westchester Rent Guidelines Board is undergoing a shakeup as the two tenant representatives on the nine-member board have tendered their resignations over an appointment they say inappropriately benefits landlords and reeks of cronyism.

    Like its counterparts in New York City and other jurisdictions, the Westchester RGB sets increases in rents for affordable housing in the region just north of the Bronx. Board members are nominated by the Westchester Board of Legislators and appointed by the New York Department of Homes and Community Renewal (...

  • Wright Runs for Congress as Tenants Champion, to Mixed Reviews

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    Keith Wright, Charles Rangel, and others (photo via Wright's campaign)


    New York Assemblymember Keith Wright’s congressional campaign has flooded inboxes declaring him a “champion” for tenants. Many see it as an appropriate description for the housing committee chair - his campaign touts the support of “100 tenant leaders” and he has a long history of advocating for renters, starting in the 1980s as the head of the tenant association in Harlem’s Riverton Houses, where he still lives. Wright and his fellow tenants recently settled a lawsuit with their landlord for $2 million after

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  • Passing the Buck on Affordable Housing

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    Mayor de Blasio makes an announcement (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    Passing the buck is one thing. Passing seventy million bucks is quite another.

    Each year, New York City sells between $70 million and $120 million in unpaid tax debt, water charges, and emergency repair loans to a private trust. These liens—which enable the owner to foreclose on the property—then increase rapidly in value. The trust can charge nine percent interest on 1-3 family houses and 18 percent interest on multifamily housing, compounded

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  • James Takes Softer Stance on Atlantic Yards

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    James (at podium) & Cumbo (in green) at Barclays Center (photo: Azi Paybarah)


    When Public Advocate Letitia (Tish) James served as City Council Member for the 35th District in Brooklyn, from 2003 through 2013, she was a vocal, high-profile opponent of the Atlantic Yards megaproject, as reflected in the 2011 documentary Battle for Brooklyn.

    James was a plaintiff in ...

  • Flushing’s Affordable Housing at Risk

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    Last week, the New York City Council approved the contested East New York rezoning - the first of 15 proposed neighborhood rezonings through which Mayor de Blasio intends to advance his goal of preserving 120,000 units of affordable housing and producing 80,000 new units at below-market rents. Described by some as a rezoning taking place “under the

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  • Homeowners Stand to Gain in Areas to be Rezoned, If They Can Keep Their Homes

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    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Rob Bennett, Mayor's Office)


    As plans to spur new development in areas around New York City proceed, mostly silence surrounds the experience of homeowners who are being pressured by investors to sell. Prior to the City Council’s approval of rezoning East New York, Brooklyn last week, there had been little public discussion of how or whether to ameliorate real estate speculation on small homes. At least in East New York, some homeowner protections have been introduced to the plan, but investor-backed

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  • East New York Deal Sets Precedent for Wave of Rezonings

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    City Council Member Rafael Espinal (second from left) (photo: William Alatriste)


    Colleagues heaped praise on City Council Member Rafael Espinal last week as the deal he negotiated with the de Blasio administration to rezone a portion of his Brooklyn district was passed through committee. The process and the agreement were being watched closely by Council members, especially those whose districts are in the pipeline for rezonings under Mayor de Blasio’s larger housing plan.

    Espinal, who represents most of the area being rezoned, which includes part of East New York,

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  • Debate Over Best Path to Affordable Housing Development Continues

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    Vicki Been (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    While sweeping new norms for city land use and housing development were passed into law last month, the debate over how to best achieve affordable housing continues. The larger affordable housing picture was the subject of a Wednesday event hosted by Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, where Vicki Been, commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. were among the guest speakers who presented their views on city

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  • Calls for Candidates to Address Urban Issues in Presidential Race

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    Workers at a NYCHA building (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    For the first time in decades, New York has become a competitive battleground in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. As the race heats up in this delegate-rich state, the two Democratic candidates, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State and New York Senator Hillary Clinton, have ramped up their outreach, particularly in New York City, home to millions of Democrats.

    Each side has

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  • Budget Leaves Cuomo's Affordable Housing Plan A Mystery

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    Gov. Cuomo arrives to outline the budget agreement (photo via The Governor's Office)


    Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a sweeping $20 billion plan to build and preserve affordable housing and fight homelessness during his State of the State speech earlier this year. The plan, to be implemented over five years, is expected to create 100,000 new units of affordable housing and 6,000 supportive housing beds for

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  • Eviction Bonuses and Preferential Rents, Not 421-a, Should Be the Focus in Albany

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    An affordable housing march 


    We have long advocated for the elimination of the 421-a tax abatement because it has been nothing but a giveaway to developers masquerading as a means of affordable housing production. This is why affordable housing advocates across the city celebrated when 421-a expired on January 15.

    Since its expiration, arguments about its possible revival are popping up more and more frequently, along with lamentations about its demise. How quickly we forget the many published ...

  • Wary of Gentrification, East Harlem Braces for Rapid Change

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    Hank Prussing's mural, The Spirit of East Harlem (via @ManhattanCB11)


    Pearl Barkley moved to East Harlem in the 1950s, when she was six years old. Her family lived in the Jefferson Houses on 115th Street, where she lives today and works as an organizer with Community Voices Heard, an economic justice advocacy non-profit.

    “Many people remember the fires, the abandoned boarded up buildings, and the people who left,” Barkley said in an interview. Essential services began disappearing from the

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