The plan has been updated to reflect the City’s needs following the pandemic. On October 20, 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, Vicki Been, released the final Where We Live NYC Plan, the City’s plan for fair housing in the five boroughs.
The Where We Live NYC Plan was developed over the span of two years following a 2015 rule issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama. This rule was made to guide cities and counties in interpreting what it means to “affirmatively further” the goals of the federal Fair Housing Act. The Plan was led by the Deputy Mayor’s office, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and the New York Housing Authority. It involved 30 other City agencies, hundreds of residents, and over 150 community-based advocacy organizations. Over the course of five years, the goal of the project is to break down barriers to opportunity and build more integrated, equitable neighborhoods.
The key goals of the plan include:
– Fighting housing discrimination by pursuing increased resources and protections.
– Promoting development that opens up more communities to low-income families.
– Preserving low-cost housing and preventing the displacement of long-standing residents through stronger tenant protections and new affordable housing investments.
– Empowering families receiving rental assistance and expanding the use of these benefits in amenity-rich neighborhoods.
– Creating better and more integrated living options for people with disabilities.
– Aligning investments to address segregation, discrimination, and concentrated poverty.
The new actions in the final plan include:
– Incentivizing more affordable housing and increasing neighborhood diversity in amenity-rich neighborhoods like Gowanus and SoHo/NoHo that have exceptional access to transit, schools, and job centers.
– Expanding housing options in low density zoning districts to encourage the development of low-cost housing options in neighborhoods across the City.
– Proposing changes to the Zoning Resolution to allow for an increase in density for affordable housing across the city. Preferential floor-area-ratio for affordable housing would apply to income restricted housing for all populations, including housing for seniors and special needs populations.
– Creating a citywide housing growth framework that takes into account an equity-centered and race-forward approach to planning.
– Incorporate lessons from Where We Live NYC into decisions about affordable housing financing.
Recently, the plan was updated to reflect the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on low-income communities of color. These updates include enhanced metrics, strategies, policy proposals, and new priorities to address a legacy of housing segregation and build a more inclusive city. The full updated plan can be seen here.
Speaking on the plan, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been said: “The Where We Live Plan lays out specifics about how we will double down on our work to make New York City fairer and more just. I am grateful to everyone who participated in the multi-year effort to make this plan an ambitious but concrete and achievable agenda, and I look forward to advancing the plan together.”
By: Lynsey Smith (Lynsey is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)