Gotham Gazette

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Citizens Union

Affordable Housing

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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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 ...

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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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    The Speaker & the Mayor (photo via the City Council)

    Speaking at separate events over a two-day span, both Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito acknowledged significant community pushback against the mayor's rezoning proposals and said that those plans will be tweaked before the Council votes on them.

    On Monday, de Blasio was asked about the largely negative reaction across the city to the zoning

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    New York Law School's Ross Sandler & HPD's Vicki Been (Phoebe Rosen for NYLS)

    Vicki Been, commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, said that the city’s affordable housing plan is on track and responded to critics on Friday, emphasizing that the plan is less about simply building units and more about “making neighborhoods better.”

    Speaking at a breakfast hosted by the CityLand publication of New York Law School, Been gave a balanced, thorough

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    A Movement for Justice in El Barrio rally

    An East Harlem tenants group is gearing up to battle Mayor Bill de Blasio over his housing plan, saying that the plan will see local mom-and-pop stores bought out by chains, further incentivize landlords to push tenants out, and destroy the culture of Spanish Harlem.

    The group, Movement for Justice in El Barrio, is countering the de Blasio rezoning proposal that they call a "luxury housing plan" with a 10-point agenda of its own designed to preserve current housing stock and protect the community from gentrification. It

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

    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday August 21

    PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio at a Thursday ground-breaking for what will be affordable housing for low-income seniors and Mayor de Blasio on Thursday evening at the site of an explosion, both via ...

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    The Mayor's NYCHA plan (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office)

    The mayor touted the number of affordable apartment units - 20,325 - as a one-year record, and far from anything seen in the city since Mayor Ed Koch’s ambitious housing plans of the ‘80s. The 20,000-plus, which includes both new and preserved units, is a big first step toward the de Blasio administration’s plan to build 80,000 entirely new affordable units and preserve another 120,000 over the next ten years. And, at a

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    Mayor de Blasio & Speaker Mark-Viverito talk (photo: William Alatriste)

    “This year we're fighting for much-needed funds that will get #NYC 6-day library service citywide, more police, better parks & much more,” tweeted City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer on Monday morning.

    Van Bramer, who chairs the Council’s cultural affairs committee, where the debate over library funding has largely been heard, reminded

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    New York City Hall

    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    ALBANY, ALBANY: Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, and Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie agreed on a short, retroactive extension of rent regulations through Tuesday. As negotiations continue on the rent regulations and other top of the agenda priority issues like mayoral control of city schools, legislators are due back in Albany on Tuesday. By

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    De Blasio & Cuomo (photo: Governor's Office via flickr)

    "Mayor of the City of New York, frustrated with Albany? Now there's a shocker," Gov. Andrew Cuomo responded on Thursday to reporters who inquired about Mayor Bill de Blasio's concerns over Albany's reluctance to deliver more than simple extenders of policies like mayoral control of schools and rent regulations that impact

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    Mayor de Blasio signs the cultural plan bill into law (photo: @JimmyVanBramer) 

    New York may be the considered the country's cultural capital, but the city has never had a comprehensive plan to outline its immense cultural assets, identify areas of need, and chart a path forward. A new law, passed by the City Council and signed on Monday by Mayor Bill de Blasio, will change that.

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    CM Ferreras questions administration officials (photo: @JulissaFerreras)

    NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio calls his budget fiscally responsible, progressive, and honest. But is it transparent? According to members of the City Council, it needs some improvement in that regard.

    On Wednesday, the Council held its first in a series of hearings on the mayor's fiscal year 2016 preliminary budget. Gone were the

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    A vacant lot in the Bronx

    City Seeks to Sharpen Picture of Vacant Lots and Add Incentives to Boost Affordable Housing

    A neat stretch of row houses comes to an abrupt halt at 2247 Walton Ave., in the Bronx, where a boarded-up house warning of rat poison sits beside a fenced-in lot covered in dead grass and garbage. The site has remained empty for several years and has served as an effective backdrop for media events held by Picture the Homeless, an advocacy group headquartered