2005-10-27 / From The Mayor...

Affordable Housing Citywide Is Spurred By New Funding From The Mayor’s Desk ...

When I came to New York 40 years ago with little more than a college degree, debts to pay and big dreams, I was shocked at how expensive housing was in the city. Today, I understand how difficult it is to find affordable housing, and that’s why my administration has launched the most aggressive affordable housing plan in decades. In total, we have committed to build or rehab 86,000 units of affordable housing for over 250,000 New Yorkers at the cost of almost $4 billion. More than half of that commitment is already completed or under construction. It is, without a doubt, the most ambitious and successful effort in actually creating affordable housing since Ed Koch was mayor.

In fact, the plan has worked so well that we have had to come up with newer and more innovative ways to develop affordable housing. We recently announced plans to transform the last remaining vacant lots owned by the city into affordable housing, a sea change from the early 1980s, when city government was New York’s largest residential landlord. Over the years, the City has redeveloped these once-blighted lots into nearly 230,000 houses and apartments. But today, that once-huge supply of City-owned vacant and abandoned property is virtually exhausted.

I am pleased to announce a major public-private partnership that will fund affordable housing construction on private land. Called the New York City Acquisition Fund, this $200 million collaboration among City government, philanthropies and banks will provide financing for local and non-profit developers to build affordable housing. We expect this much- needed financing will lead to the preservation or development of more than 30,000 units of affordable housing over the next 10 years. The City’s Housing Development Corporation and seven major philanthropies will first invest $40 million into the fund, which will generate an expected $160 million from private financial institutions. The fund will grant acquisition and pre-development loans to developers with proven track records in creating and preserving affordable housing, but who nevertheless face daunting obstacles in finding financing for projects involving privately-owned land.

Coupled with inclusionary zoning and an aggressive rezoning plan, the fund will ensure that the city’s supply of new affordable housing does not dry up as the last of the city-owned lots are developed. This year, we have rezoned Manhattan’s Hudson Yards and West Chelsea, and also portions of Greenpoint and Williamsburg, which will result in the construction of 30,000 new apartments over the coming years – with inclusionary zoning, 30% of those will be affordable.

The city’s future is looking brighter and brighter – new businesses are thriving, new parks are blooming, children are learning again, and crime continues to plummet. My administration’s affordable housing efforts are helping ensure that all New Yorkers – regardless of income – have a chance to enjoy that future.

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