De Blasio changes housing goals at the expense of the middle class

City adds new requirements for developers receiving certain subsidies

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: Getty Images)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: Getty Images)

The de Blasio administration has quietly changed its housing plan, adding new requirements that will cater to lower income tenants and reduce units set aside for the middle class.

The latest budget added $1.9 billion to increase the mayor’s affordable housing goals from building or preserving 40,000 units over the next 10 years to 50,000 units. The administration has also tweaked the number of units dedicated to moderate and middle income tenants —  three-person households making $69,000 to $141,735 — by reducing planned subsidized homes in this range from 44,000 to 39,000, Politico reported.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development recently added requirements for developers receiving certain public subsidies. For a program that encourages mixed-income housing, developers must now set aside 10 percent of their units for tenants making 30 to 50 percent of the area median income. Many of the programs also now require developers to set aside 10 percent of their subsidized units for formerly homeless tenants.

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Various groups have criticized the mayor’s initial housing plan for targeting middle-income tenants, arguing that the program failed to adequately help the city’s poorest residents. Administration officials said the changes weren’t inspired by such criticism but a willingness from developers to increase affordability.

“There’s an appetite for it,” Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen recently told reporters. “We weren’t sure there would be developers who would be even willing with the additional incentive to do that level of affordability.”

Under de Blasio, who is up for reelection, the city has so far financed 77,651 new and preserved apartments. 12.5 percent of those homes went to households earning between $104,000 and $142,000, and 14.8 percent went to families making less than $25,770. [Politico] — Kathryn Brenzel 

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