New 421a program no longer gives locals a head start on affordable housing lotteries

The old plan required that half the affordable units first be marketed to community members

An NYC construction site
An NYC construction site

The city’s refreshed 421a program — now known as Affordable New York — no longer gives locals the chance to apply for affordable units before anyone else.

In the old 421a program, the “community preference” provision meant half of the subsidized apartments in a development were marketed to community members first, Crain’s reported. Some apartments were also put aside for veterans, people with disabilities and government employees. The new 421a does not include those provisions, according to the publication.

When the bill was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in April, the “community preference” language had been taken out, according to Crain’s. The governor’s office claims it did not remove the language, which means the Legislature or the city chopped it.

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The former head of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development Vicki Been previously said that community preference is a way to appease locals that are against new development.

“[Community preference] makes it possible for the city to overcome that resistance and achieve its ambitious affordable-housing goals despite neighborhoods’ understandable concerns about the difficulties that new construction and growth may pose,” she wrote in Recently Filed Court documents. If Mayor Bill de Blasio allows 421a to continue without any community preference provisions, it will be a major departure from previous housing policies, according to Crain’s.

Last month, sources told The Real Deal the Department of Housing Preservation and Development is considering stopping the practice of allowing developers who are receiving the tax exemption to generate inclusionary air rights for off-site use. [Crain’s]Miriam Hall