City will convert cluster apartments occupied by homeless New Yorkers into affordable housing

Posted On Tue, December 12, 2017 By

Posted On Tue, December 12, 2017 By In affordable housing, Policy

Photo via Public Domain Pictures

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday another plan aimed at adding to New York City’s affordable housing inventory, while combating homelessness. As the New York Times reported, the plan converts hundreds of cluster apartments, occupied by homeless families across the city, into permanently affordable units. Cluster or scatter-site housing are typically private apartments in buildings in which landlords rent out to the city to house homeless people. To lower the number of homeless New Yorkers and add more affordable housing, the city’s plan could potentially place 3,000 people into permanent housing, allowing some homeless families to remain in the same apartment and not be considered homeless any longer by the city.

According to the city, 25 or 30 cluster site buildings have been identified that qualify for the plan. Only buildings where 50 percent or higher of apartments are cluster units, will be considered. The city says about 800 homeless families and 300 other tenants qualify, creating more than 1,100 permanent and affordable homes.

In a statement, de Blasio said the city’s homelessness crisis requires “creative and bold new strategies” to solve the problem. “This initiative will transform dozens of dilapidated temporary apartments into quality, permanently affordable homes,” he said in press release. “The effort is a clear sign that we will go to any length necessary to help our neighbors get back on their feet.”

The de Blasio administration will use public financing to help credible nonprofit organizations buy about one-third of apartments occupied by homeless New Yorkers and then rehabilitate them alongside the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The nonprofits must agree to keep units affordable for 30 years.

The number of cluster apartments in the city hit a high point in January 2016 when there were about 3,650 units. Shortly after, de Blasio announced his “Turn the Tide” program aimed at reducing the use of 360 cluster sites and commercial hotel facilities. As of this month, 2,272 families remain in cluster sites. This furthers the mayor’s Housing New York 2.0 plan, an updated and accelerated goal of financing 300,000 affordable homes by 2026.

Under de Blasio, the homelessness crisis has grown steadily. In February, an estimated 77,000 people occupied the city’s various shelter systems and or lived on the street. In January 2014, the mayor’s first month in office, the number was roughly 68,000 people without homes.

[Via NY Times]

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