The Real Deal New York

NYC hasn’t seen this much affordable housing built since 1989

City Hall built or preserved 21,963 units of below-market housing in 2016
January 12, 2017 08:53AM

Mayor Bill de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration built or preserved 21,963 units of below-market housing in 2016, the most the city has seen since 1989.

The mayor is expected to announce the numbers at a news conference in Brooklyn on Thursday.

The figure includes 6,844 apartments in newly constructed buildings, according to data city housing officials provided to the New York Times.

More than 30 percent of the units built or preserved last year were in Manhattan, and about 29 percent each were in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Over the course of the last three years, City Hall has provided financing for developments that built or preserved 62,506 below-market apartments as part of the mayor’s plan to build or preserve 200,000 units over the next decade.

In the past three years funding for the city’s housing agency has doubled from $400 million in 2014 to $798 million this year.

“I want people struggling out there to know that this is still your city,” de Blasio said Wednesday. “We are fighting to Keep New York A Place that seniors, the middle class and families trying to make it to the middle class can actually afford.”

Critics have said that too many apartments are being set aside for moderate-income New Yorkers, instead of those who are truly poor. About 35 percent of units have been set aside for families of three earning no more than $40,800 per year. And the administration has not been successful in curbing the city’s homeless population, which rose to more than 60,000 people last year.

The city has tried novel ideas, such as requiring developers who took advantage of the state’s 80/20 affordable housing program to set aside affordable units for the homeless.

De Blasio has said he will set aside more affordable units for New Yorkers with very low and extremely low incomes. Last year about 20 percent of the affordable apartments were earmarked for those earning less than $25,000 a year. That’s above the goal of 8 percent the city stated in its housing plan.

The city has been able to achieve the figures this year despite a slowdown in the real estate market and the loss of the 421a tax abatement program.

The last time the city built or preserved more housing was under Mayor Edward Koch’s administration in 1989, when he oversaw the completion of 23,136 affordable units. [NYT]Rich Bockmann