City plans to suspend senior housing program

HPD cites fair housing concerns

New York /
Dec.December 29, 2020 04:54 PM
The Department of Housing Preservation and Development will cut off applications for its Privately Financed Affordable Senior Housing program. (iStock)

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development will cut off applications for its Privately Financed Affordable Senior Housing program. (iStock)

The city is pulling the plug on a senior housing program over concerns that it violates fair housing laws.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development told developers this month that it plans to stop accepting applications for its Privately Financed Affordable Senior Housing program, known by its acronym PFASH.

The program allows developers to increase the scale of a project that sets aside a certain percentage of units as affordable independent residences for seniors, or AIRS.

HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll

HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll

In a notice to the New York State Association for Affordable Housing, HPD said it was suspending the program amid concerns “raised from a Fair Housing perspective” — namely, that senior units are off limits to families who would benefit from living near good schools, mass transit and other amenities in “high-opportunity areas.”

HPD declined to comment.

The program is relatively young, having been delayed for three years after being created in March 2016 as part of Zoning for Quality and Affordability, a text amendment.

To get the density bonus, developers must dedicate at least 10 units to elderly residents making at or below 80 percent of the area median income. Of those apartments, 90 percent must be occupied by at least one person age 62 or older.

Real estate attorney Alvin Schein, who represents developers with active PFASH applications, said he doesn’t understand HPD’s concerns about the program, given that the federal Fair Housing Act includes exemptions for senior housing.

Also, the units are not exclusive to seniors, said Schein, who added that abruptly discontinuing the initiative will erode developer and lender confidence in city programs.

“It makes developers, investors and lenders very wary of working in the city,” he said. “It isn’t a good way to encourage development of any housing in the city.”





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag
    All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag
    All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag
    53 Sonrise Place in Fellsmere, FL and Starwood Capital Group chairman Barry Sternlicht (Google Maps, Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
    Starwood snaps up Florida affordable housing portfolio
    Starwood snaps up Florida affordable housing portfolio
    From left: Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and South Boston Senator Nick Collins with Boston City Hall
    Controversial transfer tax bill advances in Boston
    Controversial transfer tax bill advances in Boston
    Yonkers mayor Mike Spano with 354 and 358 Nepperhan Avenue (Google Maps, Yonkers NY, Getty)
    Yonkers greenlights $182M in residential, commercial projects
    Yonkers greenlights $182M in residential, commercial projects
    Justice Debra James and Elizabeth Street Garden (NYCourts, Elizabeth Street Garden, Getty)
    Judge’s two years of silence paralyzes Little Italy project
    Judge’s two years of silence paralyzes Little Italy project
    160 NYS Route 25 in Greenport, LI (Google Maps, Getty)
    Yellow light for Greenport project
    Yellow light for Greenport project
    Gregory Russ and Mayor Eric Adams (Getty)
    Adams ousts NYCHA chief after arsenic scare
    Adams ousts NYCHA chief after arsenic scare
    City Council member Kristin Jordan and developer Bruce Teitelbaum with West 145th Street and Lenox Avenue (Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
    Developer to Harlem pol who blocked project: “Truck you!”
    Developer to Harlem pol who blocked project: “Truck you!”
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...