New bill would require city to publish annual report on Mitchell-Lama developments

Report would include number of complaints about waiting list

From left: Jumaane Williams, Maria Torress-Springer and Bill de Blasio
From left: Jumaane Williams, Maria Torress-Springer and Bill de Blasio

A new bill seeks to require the city to provide an annual report on waiting lists for each Mitchell-Lama housing development.

The report would take stock of how many new residents applied for this type of affordable housing each year and were not selected. The proposed measure would also require the city to publish the average rent increases for the developments and the number of complaints it received about the waiting list.

“Considering the housing crisis this city is in, it’s imperative that we do all that we can to preserve and promote affordable housing,” Council member Jumaane Williams, the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement. “It’s time we take stock of how many are in need, and reassess how to best approach this issue.”

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For now, prospective tenants can use “Mitchell-Lama Connect” to check when the last tenant or homeowner was approved by each development and what number they were on the waiting list. The database doesn’t, however, show how many new people are on the waiting list for each development.

The Mitchell-Lama program, which was created in 1955, provides rental and co-ops to moderate- to middle-income families. After 20 years, landlords or co-op boards can choose to go private. Earlier this year, a Mitchell-Lama co-op in Clinton Hill voted against privatization, which would’ve allowed residents to sell their homes at market-rate.

Elsewhere in the world of affordable housing, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development on Thursday announced new income thresholds for 10,000 homes in the mayor’s 10-year housing plan. In January, Mayor Bill de Blasio committed $1.9 billion to lower the costs thousands of homes in his affordable housing plan. The subsidy is expected to increase the number of homes built or preserved for families of three making less than $25,000 a year by 31 percent and by 21 percent for families bringing in less than $41,000, according to HPD. — Kathryn Brenzel