City Council passes homeless set-aside bill

Mandate will apply to larger projects receiving city funding

TRD New York /
Dec.December 19, 2019 05:54 PM
Council Council member Rafael Salamanca Jr. (Credit: Getty Images)

Council Council member Rafael Salamanca Jr. (Credit: Getty Images)

Developers of certain residential projects will soon have to set aside 15 percent of their apartments for homeless individuals.

The City Council on Thursday passed a bill that will require these homeless units in new residential developments of 41 or more apartments if the project receives financial assistance from the city, such as loans or tax breaks. The rules are expected to reserve as many as 1,000 units for homeless individuals each year.

The measure, proposed last year by Council member Rafael Salamanca Jr., is the product of a compromise with the de Blasio administration. The mayor had opposed an earlier version of the bill, which called for a 15 percent set-aside in projects receiving city funding with 15 apartments or more.

De Blasio has faced increasing pressure to ramp up his administration’s efforts to provide housing for the city’s homeless. Earlier this week, the mayor announced a $100 million program to create 1,000 permanent housing units for homeless people not in shelters. But the mayor objected to the initial version of the set-aside bill because officials at his main housing agency said it would make some projects non-viable, resulting in less housing and more homelessness.

Salamanca’s bill also requires the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development to compile an annual report listing residential projects receiving city financing and the number of units set aside for homeless residents.

Thursday marked the council’s final stated meeting of the year. Lawmakers also agreed to extend J-51 — a tax abatement and exemption for landlords who renovate multifamily properties — through June 2020.

Earlier this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that granted municipalities throughout the state the authority to continue J-51 through next year. City and state officials have indicated that they are looking to reform the tax break next year in hopes of making it more appealing to developers.

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