Mayor de Blasio and his administration have made progress in meeting their goal of building 200,000 affordable units over the span of a decade, as 21,963 new units were added in 2016, the most in 27 years. However, there continues to be a shortage in East Harlem. Out of the nearly 20,000 affordable units, the city brought to all five boroughs, just 249 units have been built in East Harlem, according to a new report by the Department of Housing and Preservation Development (HPD). To better accommodate these residents, the city plans on expediting the construction of 2,400 units of affordable housing over the next few years, as DNA Info reported.
Mayor de Blasio
The much-anticipated NYC Ferry service begins today, lessening the commute to Manhattan for many outer borough residents. The first commuter ferry took off from the new Rockaway route at 5:30 a.m. Monday, picked up more passengers at Sunset Park and then arrived in Lower Manhattan in just about one hour. Newly renovated ferries will also launch today on the East River Route, which services Midtown and Financial District communities. On Sunday, Mayor de Blasio held a christening ceremony and took the first ferry ride from the Rockaways to Wall Street.
An investigation by Public Advocate Letitia James’ office found that nearly 40 percent, or 884, of the 2,322 apartments in the Tenant Interim Lease (TIL) program sit unoccupied. After hearing multiple complaints from constituents at town halls, the public advocate’s office launched a full review of the program and discovered it does not meet its goal of providing New Yorkers with self-sufficient, low-income rentals (h/t NY Post). Even more shocking, at one TIL building on 615 West 150th Street, tenants had to move out in 1996 for what was supposed to be a two-year renovation. Per a policy briefing by the public advocate, they still have not been able to return to the units, and their possessions are locked up without access.
With the announcement of Mayor de Blasio’s new executive budget on Wednesday, the shaky relationship between the short-term rental company Airbnb and New York City continues. As reported by Crain’s, the city plans to crack down on illegal short-term rentals by spending an extra $2.9 million over the next two fiscal years. For the fiscal year 2018, the mayor plans to pour $1.6 million into expanding the city’s Office of Special Enforcement, which inspects and fines landlords who rent entire apartments out for fewer than 30 days.
Although Mayor de Blasio’s proposed BQX project, which would connect the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts via streetcar, received praise from many, finding money to fund it may be tougher than expected. Earlier this month, a leaked memo obtained by the Daily News laid out a tough assessment of the construction logistics and financial problems facing the project. And while the mayor admitted last week that his plan for the BQX to be self-funded through tax revenue from higher real estate values may not pan out, an article in Crain’s laid out an idea for the city to sell air rights in the Brooklyn Navy Yard neighborhood to raise money for the project.
Affordable housing lotteries fail low-income residents and favor middle-income earners, says new report, Thu, April 20, 2017
In every state and major city in the country, extremely low-income renters face a shortage of affordable housing. Although low-income applicants in New York City display a higher need for affordable housing, policies created by Mayor de Blasio and his administration continue to set aside more units for middle-income applicants. In a detailed report, City Limits analyzed affordable housing in Brooklyn and compared the need for affordable housing to the actual number of allotted low-income and middle-income units. For just one building, the tower at 535 Carlton, nearly 95,000 households entered the lottery for its “100 percent affordable” units. However, only 2,203 applicants were eligible for the 148 middle-income units, and over 67,000 households applied for the 90 low-income units. The data shows low-income households in search of affordable housing face much tougher odds than middle-income applicants.
To celebrate the ahead-of-schedule launch of the Citywide Ferry service, Mayor de Blasio rode the first ferry (named “Lunchbox” by second graders from Bay Ridge) this morning into Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 as part of an official dedication ceremony. Beginning May 1st, all New Yorkers can join in the revelry when the new Rockaway Route and the existing East River Route kick off. Service to South Brooklyn starts in June, and the Astoria route will be launched sometime in August. In all, there will be 21 stops added throughout the city as part of the expanded service. On top of today’s festivities, the city also released the official new ferry schedules.
Mayor de Blasio announced today that the Citywide Ferry Service, now officially named “NYC Ferry,” will be launching two routes on the first day of May: the new Rockaway Route and the existing East River Route. As DNA Info learned, the Rockaway route takes passengers from the new dock on Beach 108th Street to the Brooklyn Terminal, and then Wall Street’s Pier 11. Expect service on the South Brooklyn Route with stops in Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Red Hook and Brooklyn Bridge Park to begin on June 1. The Astoria Route will be launched sometime in August and the Lower East Side and Soundview Routes have a launch date set in 2018. Find out more here
Although the recent subway and bus fare hike affects all New Yorkers, low-income residents are being especially hard hit by the jump in cost. As a way to ease this financial burden, the City Council has proposed a $50 million pilot program as part of the “Fair Fares” initiative which will provide half-fare MetroCards to New Yorkers living at or below the federal poverty line. As the Daily News learned, transit advocates say nearly 800,000 residents would be eligible for the discount under the full plan.
With a federal budget proposal that strips significant funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, it’s not so shocking that President Trump and his son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, both own buildings that rank as the least energy-efficient in New York City. The Daily News shared a new report from ALIGN, a coalition of labor and environmental activists, which found that Trump Tower uses more energy than 93 percent of the city’s large residential buildings. Worse, the Trump Organization’s Mayfair condo uses more than 98 percent. The report also revealed that a Kushner Companies’ 666 Fifth Avenue (controversial for even more reasons as of late) uses more energy than 85 percent of large office buildings.
As the population of New York City continues to rise, so does the amount of garbage lining its sidewalks. But getting all this trash out of sight is not an insignificant expense. As the Post reports, a new study by the city’s Independent Budget Office (IBO) has found that the price of exporting trash is swelling and there appears to be little remedy in sight.
Outside of 432 Park Avenue, Mayor de Blasio held a press conference on Thursday to discuss his mansion tax. The proposal calls for a 2.5 percent surcharge on sales of city homes valued at $2 million or more, which would in turn fund affordable housing for 25,000 senior citizens. De Blasio fittingly positioned himself outside 432 Park because, according to the city, if the proposed tax had been passed, this residence alone would have generated $30.2 million since 2015 in support of housing for low-income seniors. “And that would have been based–and this is stunning to me–on the sale of just 62 condominiums. But it would have meant enough money to subsidize affordable housing for 2,000 seniors,” he said.
Under President Trump’s first budget proposal, New York City will lose hundreds of millions of dollars for schools, housing, transportation, homeland security, and other city agencies. According to the Daily News, city schools and afterschool programs can be expected to lose $140 million, homeland security grants will be cut $190 million, and NYCHA will lose $370 million, which is on top of the $76 million cut they were already expecting. Ironically, the budget also slashes transit projects by $2 billion, which means completing projects like the Second Avenue Subway and the Gateway trans-Hudson River tunnel may be on the chopping block, despite the fact that they were specifically called out in Trump’s previous $1 trillion infrastructure plan to receive $14.2 billion and $12 billion respectively.
Just two days after newly appointed Secretary of HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) Ben Carson went along with plans to cut federal funding to NYCHA by at least $35 million, the Trump administration is reportedly considering decreasing HUD’s total budget by a staggering $6 billion, or 14 percent, according to a leaked budget draft obtained by the Washington Post. Though it’s not clear how the cuts will affect NYC specifically, previous estimates said cuts to NYCHA’s federal aid could easily balloon to $150 million this year, and Mayor de Blasio was already weighing his options for how to deal with the blow. The Wall Street Journal reports that he said yesterday he plans to put aside city money to help fill the gap, but if the city is “cut on many, many fronts simultaneously,” there won’t be enough to cover the loss in federal funding.
For the first time in 100 years, ferry service will be available to all five boroughs as part of a two-year $325 million initiative by Mayor de Blasio. As the Wall Street Journal reported, the plan will add at least 200 jobs to the city’s economy. Half of these available jobs will pay at least $50,000 per year or more, according to the mayor. The plan for the citywide ferry service, launching this summer, will be managed by the Economic Development Corporation and Hornblower Cruises, who will hire deckhands, captains and other crew members.