COMMENTARY: Creating Social Housing in the Sky

By Assemblymember Harvey Epstein and Senator Cordell Cleare

The next innovation in the pursuit of permanently affordable housing for New Yorkers can be found amongst the glistening luxury high-rise condominiums. These high-rise condominium complexes will also include the next wave of cooperatively-owned and community-controlled affordable homeownership opportunities in New York City — social housing in the sky — if our bill, the recently updated Martin Act amendment (S3566A/A6921A), becomes law.

Comptroller Stringer Releases Plan to Address City’s Affordable Housing Problems

Universal Affordable Housing would require 25 percent permanently low-income affordable housing in all new development with ten or more units. On January 29, 2020, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer announced a citywide housing strategy to fundamentally realign the City’s approach to the housing crisis. The strategy, coined Housing We Need, will include a universal requirement for 25 percent permanently low-income affordable housing in all as-of-right developments with at least ten units.

421-a Benefits Suspended for Failure to Comply

Property owners face 421-a suspension for failure to submit Final Certificates of Eligibility. On March 9, 2018, Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer and Department of Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha announced the suspension of 421-a benefits to more than 1,700 property owners. The decision to suspend benefits is part of the Housing Preservation and Development and Department of Finance’s initiative to ensure that properties comply with the 421-a application rules. Currently, there is a … <Read More>

421-a Property Tax Process Renewed

The revised Section 421-a offers new opportunities for affordable housing. The 421-a property tax exemption began in 1971 as an incentive for developers to develop badly needed housing in New York City. When the real estate market rebounded in the 80s, the program was amended to condition tax abatements on the construction of affordable housing units. The program expired in June 2016. In its place, the State Legislature passed the “Affordable New York” program in … <Read More>

City Officials Agree to Tougher 421-a Enforcement

421-a enforcementThe City Council, Public Advocate and administration officials agree that new measures should be taken to ensure 421-a compliance, proposed legislation is a good start. On November 22, 2016, the City Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings and Committee on Finance held a joint hearing on the City’s enforcement of 421-a requirements. The meeting also served as a public hearing for three proposed bills to strengthen enforcement efforts.

New York State Assembly Housing Committee Chair Keith Wright Proposes Bill to Subsidize Affordable and Senior Housing

The bill seeks to fill the gap left open by the expiration of 421-a, the decades-old tax exemption program that expired on January 1, 2016.  On March 15, 2016, New York State Assembly Housing Committee Chair Keith Wright, who represents Manhattan, introduced Assembly bill A9537, which would provide for new, taxpayer-funded affordable housing subsidies and job training programs. If enacted, the bill would incentivize the construction of affordable housing and affordable senior housing through subsidies, … <Read More>