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Affordable Housing

Affordable Housing

  • Flushing’s Affordable Housing at Risk

    Flushing town hall


    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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  • Key Piece of City's New Housing Deal Will Protect Tenants from Harassment

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    Housing plans (photo: Ed Reed for the Office of Mayor)

     


     

    Last week, New Yorkers learned that a bill creating a new Citywide Certificate of No Harassment program would be part of the city's new housing deal. The legislation, which will be finalized by a new task force before being adopted, will require landlords to get a certificate confirming that they have not harassed their tenants before demolishing or altering a building.

    This provision of the housing deal is especially good news for tenants across the city.

    As

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  • New York City Interests Given Varied Priority in Three Albany Budget Plans

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    De Blasio & Heastie (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio didn't need to see the Assembly and Senate one-house budgets to know where he stands with each chamber - Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is a close ally of the mayor, his fellow New York City Democrat, while Senate Republicans hold a major grudge against de Blasio for leading a failed effort to boot them from the majority two years ago. Most Republican legislators, who control the Senate but not the Assembly, are also philosophically opposed to much of de Blasio's

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  • Sides Near Deal on Major Zoning Changes Aimed at Creating Affordable Housing

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    De Blasio rallies for his housing plans (photo: Demetrius Freeman, Mayor's Office)


    After months of public discussion and weeks of private negotiation, the City Council is on the verge of passing, with tweaks, two sweeping changes to the city's land use rules that are key to Mayor Bill de Blasio's housing plan.

    Sources familiar with negotiations say that some details are still being worked through, but that the major tenets of the controversial changes to city zoning text are all but set. A deal may be announced as early as Monday

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  • Housing Groups Defend Homelessness Report After Pushback from Cuomo Administration

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    A Vocal-NY protest (Matt Curtis/Vocal-NY)

     


     

    Housing groups are coming to the defense of a report issued this week that critiques Gov. Andrew Cuomo's homelessness policies and questions his attempts to place the blame for a rising homeless population on Mayor Bill de Blasio.

    Kristi Berner, spokesperson for the State's Office of Temporary and Disability insurance, slammed ...

  • Private Sector Retirement Security Plans Become Next Progressive Cause

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    De Blasio delivers his State of the City (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office) 


    Experts warn that the entire country could be headed for a financial crisis caused by the fact that an aging workforce has not been saving for retirement.

    Whether due to cutbacks of public pensions, the lack of retirement plans offered by private employers, or workers forced to raid their savings, it appears to a growing number of advocates and politicians that many Americans will be forced to keep

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  • Richards Puts Communities of Color at Forefront of Housing Debate

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    City Council Member Donovan Richards (photo: William Alatriste)


    "Why am I here?" City Council Member Donovan Richards asked rhetorically, speaking with energy beyond what you would expect from someone in the midst of chairing 20 hours of land use policy hearings over two days. The question wasn't Richards rethinking his career path or delusion brought on by testimony after testimony about zoning code, it was a way of punctuating his explanation that of course he had to put communities of color at the forefront of discussions about affordable housing in New York

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  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, Feb. 15-19

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    photo: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday February 19

    PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio celebrates the launch of the LinkNYC wifi hubs, via The Mayor's Office; Governor Cuomo rallies to promote paid

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  • Goodbye to 'First Generation' NYCHA

    Goodbye-to-First-Generation-NYCHA

    photo: David Schalliol, from Affordable Housing in New York 


    Should NYCHA give up its controversial plan to generate revenue by adding mixed-income 50/50 percent (market/affordable) buildings at the Wyckoff Gardens and Holmes Towers public housing developments? Many residents and activists at these two sites dedicated for "infill" as

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  • Next Steps the State Must Make to Create and Maintain Affordable Housing

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    photo: a groundbreaking, via the Governor's Office


    As the Legislature moves ahead with its 2016 session in Albany, a top priority must be creating and maintaining affordable housing across the state. We cannot be content with fellow New Yorkers sleeping in three-quarter houses, with too many to a room, because it’s the only alternative. It is only so long until the next severely rent burdened tenant - spending more than 50 percent of their earnings on rent - ends up homeless because they cannot afford their

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  • At Hearings, City Council to Examine Mayor's Zoning Proposals

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    Council Member Donovan Richards (photo via @DRichards13)


    Amid light flakes of snow, about 20 ralliers stood outside City Hall Monday morning and unleashed a flurry of criticism of a key piece of Mayor Bill de Blasio's affordable housing plan. De Blasio's plan to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing relies in part on proposed changes to the city's land use rules, which are set to go before City Council review this week.

    Members of the Real

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  • Real Affordable Housing for Our Communities

    de blasio housing constituent

    photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office


    When I think about my family's future in New York City, I wonder: will there be an affordable, safe, and healthy apartment where I can raise my children and still be able to provide them with everything else that they need?

    This is the question that our city government has to address if it wants to protect low-income and working class New Yorkers.

    My husband and I live in Bushwick in a one-bedroom apartment with our three children—one of whom has special needs—and

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  • De Blasio Pushed to Include Local Jobs in Neighborhood Rezonings

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    Mayor de Blasio talks with parents (photo: Ed Reed, Mayor's Office) 


    Community advocates are making it clear that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plans to rezone neighborhoods are not acceptable unless they include broader economic development initiatives like local hiring.

    As part of his ambitious affordable housing plan, de Blasio has announced several communities the city plans to rezone first in an effort to create more density, build affordable units, and improve neighborhoods. When the mayor initially

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  • Planning Commission Vote Will Send Zoning Proposals to City Council

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    Council Member Greenfield leads a press conference (photo: William Alatriste) 


    The next ten days are an especially critical period for Mayor Bill de Blasio's housing plan. While negotiations around a new state-level program to incentivize affordable housing production continue and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has promised to soon flesh out general affordable housing plans he announced during his recent State of the State speech, city-level changes being sought by de Blasio are on the move.

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  • Calls for Public Discussion of New Affordable Housing Incentive Program

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    The REBNY gala (photo via REBNY on Facebook)


    Earlier this year developers and labor unions failed to reach a deal to renew the controversial 421-a tax abatement program that is designed to entice the development of affordable housing. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislators agreed to extend the program early last year while putting the longterm future of the program in the hands of the special interests that benefit from it--an unprecedented move that was met with loud criticism.

    With negotiations failed and the program expired, it appears that real estate

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  • Homeless Young Adults Can Fall through a Crack in Shelter System

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    Julie Laurence, Chief Program Officer at Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS) with one of their members at their drop-in center. (Photo by City Limits/Adi Talwar)


    Turning 21 is a milestone with a different meaning for a homeless youth in New York. When that day arrives, he or she usually must leave the city's youth shelter system, and they also lose many essential services. If they haven't found permanent housing

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  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, Jan. 18-22

    week in review bus readers

    photo: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday January 22

    PHOTO OF THE WEEK: City Council Members and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, via @ydanis; City Council Member Donovan Richards, Gov. Cuomo, Bronx BP Diaz Jr., via ...

  • De Blasio Calls for Albany to 'Make Right' on Program at Center of Rift with Governor

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    Cuomo and de Blasio in 2014, photo via Governor's Office


    When Mayor Bill de Blasio exploded in frustration with Governor Andrew Cuomo on June 30 of last year, there were three key issues that set him off. The mayor felt that in the final negotiations of the Albany legislative session that had just ended, Cuomo had not been an ally on rent regulations, mayoral control of city schools, and the 421-a tax break program meant to spur affordable housing development, each of which was extended in a way that the mayor and many other city officials saw as

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