City not transparent about affordable housing costs: report

Citizens Budget Commission finds dearth of specifics on where the dollars go

Stuyvesant Town and Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: Getty Images)
Stuyvesant Town and Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: Getty Images)

In 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged nearly $47 billion in public and private money for his affordable housing program, but his administration has never been very good at showing the public how much of the money is actually spent and how it’s spent, according to a new report from the nonprofit Citizens Budget Commission.

Earlier this year, the city announced it had financed over 62,000 affordable homes, but never provided information about how they were financed and which existing affordable housing programs acted as the funding source. Additionally, the group’s analysis finds that $1.9 billion in capital expenditure pledged in January is inadequately explained in the city’s budget, which lacks information about how the spending is geared toward different levels of targeted affordability.

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While the Department of Housing Preservation and Development provided the group with a more extensive breakdown of this year’s new spending than did City Hall, the group’s report further states that the lack of per-unit cost estimates makes it impossible to know how many homes that $1.9 billion will support.

Because of this, the watchdog group contends that New Yorkers have no way of properly evaluating whether public money spent on affordable housing is done efficiently.

“Three years into the plan, the city has yet to provide an update on how much it has spent to date and how much it will need to spend to reach its goal by 2024,” wrote the commission’s senior research associate Sean Campion. [Crain’s]Will Parker