GOP mayoral candidates back $8B affordable housing plan

August 14, 2013 05:30PM

Republican mayoral candidates are taking back a pet issue of the Dems: affordable housing. Joe Lhota, currently out front on the Republican side, endorsed the Housing First coalition’s proposal that would require increasing the city’s spending by $356 million per year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“It is certainly newsworthy that Joe Lhota and the other two Republican candidates have chosen to endorse this plan because it’s an ambitious plan, it’s a plan that will cost money,” Ted Houghton, co-chairman of Housing First, told the Journal. “I’ve not seen it before across the spectrum of candidates like this.”

John Catsimatidis and George McDonald — Lhota’s main GOP adversaries — have also come out in favor of the plan, which advocates earmarking $8 billion toward preserving 150,000 affordable housing units. So far, Sal Albanese is the only Democrat to give the plan a thumbs up.

With the state and federal governments pulling back on housing aid, Lhota told the Journal the issue has become a top priority for New York City’s mayor.

Until Republican candidates came out in favor of the plan, they had not communicated comprehensive strategies to create additional affordable housing. And while a number of Democratic candidates have expressed support for certain aspects of the Housing First plan, most already have their own designs with similar targets. [WSJ]Julie Strickland