Affordable housing has long been a topic at the forefront of NYC politics, but it gained even more attention with Mayor de Blasio’s plan to preserve or build 300,000 affordable units by 2026, which has resulted in a slew of new lotteries, a new more user-friendly web portal, and an update to ease the process for immigrants and low-income New Yorkers. But the topic is not without its issues, especially with the city reeling in the wake of the pandemic. Many still wonder if the city is doing enough for affordability and if some of the available units are really affordable. Ahead, we break down the different types of affordable housing programs, how you can qualify and apply, and what happens if and when you get in.
After Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, his immediate focus will be getting the coronavirus pandemic under control and providing direct relief to Americans. In addition to immediate actions related to COVID-19, Biden’s Day 1 housing priorities include extending the federal nationwide moratorium on residential evictions through the end of September and sending an additional $25 billion in rental assistance to states. Down the road, Biden has proposed fewer developer-friendly policies than his predecessor, including a repeal of the 1031 exchange and reform of the Opportunity Zone tax program. But overall, there is optimism among New York City real estate industry experts who see a Biden Administration as a way to restore stability and consumer confidence. With a pledge to defeat COVID-19 and send federal support to New York City, there’s hope on the horizon for the city’s recovery.
Six new coronavirus testing sites with a priority for residents of the city’s public housing system will open starting this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday. Community testing sites will open on Friday in Fort Greene, Mott Haven, and on the Lower East Side, with three additional sites opening next week at New York City Housing Authority buildings, including Jonathan Williams Houses, Woodside Houses, and St. Nicholas Houses. The news comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced earlier this week a pilot program to bring on-site health services and more testing to NYCHA residents, beginning with eight developments across the five boroughs.
Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City is one of the NYCHA developments to get testing services; Photo via Wikimedia
A pilot program to bring on-site health services and expanded COVID-19 testing to residents of New York City’s public housing will roll out this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday. The news follows preliminary data released by the city and state earlier this month that shows minority and low-income communities are facing disproportionate rates of infection and death from the coronavirus. “People in public housing always seem to pay the highest prices,” the governor said on Monday.
Comedian and “Saturday Night Live” cast member Michael Che on Wednesday pledged to pay one month’s rent for all 160 apartments at a public housing building where his late grandmother lived. Earlier this month, Che, who grew up on the Lower East Side, announced he lost his grandmother, Martha, to complications from the coronavirus.
The site of the proposed affordable senior housing building in Morrisania; Map data © 2020 Google
The city is looking to construct two affordable senior complexes with between 150 and 200 housing units each. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development on Friday released a request for proposals for two underused city-owned sites, one in the Bronx’s Morrisania neighborhood and the other in Crown Heights in Brooklyn. The developments fall under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration’s “Seniors First” housing program, which aims to serve 30,000 senior households by 2026 through the creation and preservation of affordable housing.
The New York City Public Housing Authority has inked an agreement that will turn 5,902 units over to private developers and raise over $1.5 billion for much-needed repairs, Crain’s reports. In 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to convert 62,000 apartments by 2028 and has so far converted over 7,000 units. Thursday’s deal represents “the largest single package of conversions yet undertaken by the agency,” according to Crain’s. Included in the deal are five complexes: Linden Houses and Boulevard Houses in East New York, Williamsburg Houses in East Williamsburg and Audubon Houses and Harlem River Houses 1 and 2 in Harlem. The long list of selected developers includes major builders like L+M Development and Hudson Companies and some smaller players.
De Blasio releases non-discriminatory housing plan as Trump rolls back Obama-era ‘Fair Housing’ rule, Wed, January 8, 2020
First announced in March 2018, the Where We Live NYC initiative has finally released a draft plan for public review. Described as a “comprehensive fair housing planning process to study, understand, and address patterns of residential segregation,” the report outlines key goals and strategies to eliminate discrimination in the housing market. As part of the plan, the city will launch the Fair Housing Litigation Unit “comprised of researchers, lawyers, and market testers who will go into the community as ‘secret shoppers’ and identify discriminatory practices,” per a recent press release.
More than 2,460 residents at the LaGuardia Houses on the LES were affected by the outages Tuesday; photo via Wikimedia
Thousands of public housing residents did not have heat and hot water on Tuesday, making it the second widespread outage in less than two weeks. As first reported by Gothamist, 10,000 New York City Housing Authority tenants across six complexes suffered from the outages this week. And last week, when temperatures dropped below freezing, roughly 23,000 NYCHA residents did not have heat or hot water at some point.
The New York Times recently told of a pair of visitors from Boston who signed up for a sweet Airbnb deal on a Chelsea pad for $90 a night–and were surprised to have it turn out to be a seventh-floor unit in the neighborhood’s 11-building NYCHA Fulton Houses complex. The would-be guests noticed that “something seemed off,” starting with the roach trap next to the bed. The travelers tipped off the company, who refunded their money, and their story quickly became internet history as yet another way homestay platforms are being taken advantage of and another log on the fire of the debate that rages over what to do about it.