Mayor’s affordable housing announcement appears more retrospective than optimistic. On August 5, 2020, The Mayor’s Press Office released a statement touting the amount of affordable housing created in fiscal year 2020. The announcement states that the City preserved 23,520 homes and constructed 6,503 new units, totaling 30,023 affordable City financed homes. More than 50 percent of these homes serve families earning less than $52,000 and 3,600 people received voucher increases to ameliorate income lost from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This announcement comes nearly a month after the adoption of the City budget for fiscal year 2021. The $88.1 billion budget includes a $457 million cut to HPD’s capital budget. According to the New York Housing Conference and as reported by The Real Deal, the budget cuts could result in the loss of approximately 20,000 affordable housing units. Per the a late-June report from the City’s Independent Budget Office, these budget cuts will also hamstring the “considerable time it takes for a project to move from financing to construction to occupancy.”
Despite the stated “funding challenges,” the City claims to be actively identifying projects that meet the urgency of the post- coronavirus world and will explore a multitude of financing options.
The City it will reportedly prioritize housing projects that serve seniors, homeless households and the lowest income individuals and families. According to the statement “Throughout FY 2021, [HPD] plans to leverage federal and city resources and key partnerships to advance affordable housing development during this critical time.” The announcement also brings attention to NYC Housing Connect, the City’s revamped, online affordable housing portal. To read CityLand’s prior coverage of Housing Connect, click here.
Mayor Bill de Blasio stated, “New Yorkers will rely on safe, affordable housing more than ever as we continue our fight against COVID-19. Our efforts to finance and preserve affordable options for low-income New Yorkers will help our most vulnerable neighbors remain stable and healthy in the months to come- and help us emerge from this crisis a fairer, better city.”
Louise Carroll, Commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, said “We have achieved record success generating affordable housing in recent years. As we manage the pandemic and the resulting economic crisis, HPD is more committed than ever to keep New Yorkers in safe secure homes and creating as much affordable housing as possible.”
Since 2014, the City financed 165,000 homes—more than half of the Mayor’s pledge of 300,000 affordable units by 2026.
In addition to this coverage, CityLand will continue its coverage of the COVID-19 impact on New York City and its related government entities. For New York City-specific COVID-19 updates, the City established an information site with updates from all major administrative agencies. Agencies include the Department of Buildings, City Planning, Citywide Administrative Services, the Department of Finance and the Department of Transportation among others. You can find that page here.
By: Jason Rogovich (Jason Rogovich is the CityLaw Fellow and New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2019)