City councilman Mark Levine announced Wednesday the creation of the Affordable Housing Preservation Taskforce, which will track existing affordable units across the city on the brink of becoming market rate. The task force is the latest in an effort to address the monumental task of preserving the city’s affordable housing.
According to Crain’s NY, the 14-member task force, which will be led by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, will work with residents, landlords and nonprofits to identify buildings headed toward market rate rent status. Rent regulation, for example, stipulates that rent can only be raised by a certain percentage each year as set by the New York City Rent Guidelines Board.
Even as the de Blasio administration has pledged to address the issue, the city has been losing affordable apartments faster than new ones can be provided–about 250,000 units became market rate between 1994 and 2012. Barika Williams, deputy director of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development added that, “All of the units created during the Koch administration will start to expire beginning in 2017” in addition to the above, which translates to about 11,000 units a year until 2037.
According to Levine, council members are well-equipped to help alert the city about vulnerable buildings, as they “have direct communication from tenants who are distressed, and also often we have direct communication with landlords.”
By teaming up with local nonprofits and other community members, the task force hopes to provide a better picture of where city resources should be directed. Mr. Levine also said the task force will look at already-existing policy, identify potential pitfalls and draft a citywide strategy for the preservation of affordable housing.
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