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Last June, the city committed $500 million toward a plan to construct 1,000 new apartments for low-income senior citizens, but now almost a year later those plans are moving forward much slower than expected, Politico reports. The plan had identified six potential sites—two at New York City Housing Authority properties Kingsborough Houses in Brooklyn and Morris Houses in the Bronx, and four on other city-owned lots—but so far the city has only requested developer proposals for one of those sites.
“Development of public land is a key strategy, but one that requires extensive community engagement and public review, which is why we are working on multiple fronts to create as much housing as possible for our city’s seniors,” city spokesperson Jane Meyer said in a statement, adding that de Blasio’s administration has already financed 7,000 low-cost apartments for seniors.
The city plans to request proposals for the remaining sites over the next year, while a spokesman has said the planned funding commitment won’t be allocated until future fiscal years. Housing advocates were under the impression that the city’s announcement last year was a commitment to expand on existing plans, but it now seems that the 1,000-unit total will be part of the 30,000-unit senior housing goal the city committed to in 2017.
A recent study from advocacy group Live On New York projected more than 200,000 low-income seniors are on waiting lists for affordable housing. As 6sqft previously reported, housing activists seek a total of $2 billion from the city to build 15,000 apartments for seniors.
At the June 12 rally last year, Mayor de Blasio said: “Fairness means people who worked so hard their whole lives can actually make ends meet.”
“There was no ambiguity last June, when the mayor shook our hand at a press conference on the steps of City Hall,” said Reverend David Brawley, a member of Metro Industrial Area Foundation, an affordable housing advocacy group that has lobbied for more senior housing, and pastor of the St. Paul Community Baptist Church in East New York. “The construction of senior affordable housing is happening too slow, it’s too little and for a whole generation of New Yorkers who are wanting to keep living in this city, it’s too late.”
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