Churches to Get Help Building Affordable Housing

Mayor and non-profit community development financial institution announce new program to help religious non-profits build affordable housing. On August 23, 2017, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation NYC, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Mayor’s Office announced the launch of a new initiative to aid non-profits in the construction of new affordable housing. The initiative, called the New York Land Opportunity Program, is a joint venture with the goal of helping faith-based institutions with limited real estate experience based in Manhattan, Bronx and Queens.

The program will provide free technical assistance, including access to lawyers and architects, to explore the possibility of turning vacant or underutilized property into viable housing projects. The partnerships are planned to develop hundreds of new affordable units, while maintaining the faith institutions’ existing programs and worship spaces.

The August 23rd announcement included the designation of the first five religious non-profits to enter the program.  The participants are: the Community Church of New York Unitarian Universalist in Murray Hill, Manhattan; Shiloh Church of Christ in Harlem, Manhattan; Wakefield Grace United Methodist Church in Wakefield, Bronx; St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Bronx; and, St. John’s Global Ministries in Jamaica, Queens.

“Working with New York City’s community-based organizations, and particularly faith-based leaders, we are finding new ways to turn underutilized lots into modern affordable housing and community spaces that will benefit New Yorkers in need. I congratulate these five churches, their communities and the partners that got us to this point. Your work is so important,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“NYLOP aligns with LISC NYC’s mission of supporting local champions to address critical community needs. Churches and other mission-driven organizations are the life-blood of NYC neighborhoods and can play a vital role in meeting the challenge of our city’s affordable housing crisis,” said Sam Marks, Executive Director of LISC NYC.

By: Jonathon Sizemore (Jonathon is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2016).

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