2008-07-31 / Top Stories

Clinton Assures 'Affordability' For Starrett Residents

By Dara Mormile

Sen. Clinton talks to crowd at Monday's Starrett City rally as BPMarkowitz, Rep. Towns and Rep. Weiner look on.      Photos by Dara MormileSen. Clinton talks to crowd at Monday's Starrett City rally as BPMarkowitz, Rep. Towns and Rep. Weiner look on. Photos by Dara Mormile Hundreds gathered at Starrett City Monday morning, as Congressman Ed Towns and Senator Hillary Clinton and other elected officials, for a press conference at the 140-acre, 5,800-unit housing complex east of Canarsie, to highlight the importance of maintaining its affordability.

Yesterday, President Bush signed into law the housing relief bill that ensures Starrett City, the nation's largest federally subsidized housing development, will remain affordable for middle and lower-income families.

"I have made it clear that the sale of Starrett City must reflect our deep commitment to protecting the interests of our city's working and middle-class families," said Senator Clinton. "Thanks to the leadership of Congressman Towns, we are able to ensure our residents' concerns are heard loud and clear."

Starrett City was put up for sale in 2006, threatening its affordability. While the number of current bidders is down to four, the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development rejected previous bids because potential buyers placed residents at risk of losing their homes with anticipated higher monthly rents.

Portion of the crowd who attended press conference at Starrett City.Portion of the crowd who attended press conference at Starrett City. Last March, many believed real estate group Clipper Equities' $1.3 billion bid would not have preserved Starrett City as affordable housing on a long-term basis.

The four groups bidding for the property, now expected to sell for an estimated $800 million, are the NHP Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, the Housing Partnership Development Corporation and the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.

New bidders are now bound by federal legislation that wasn't in effect when Clipper Equity submitted its bid that was opposed by residents and tenants associations last year before it was rejected. Media reports indicate Starrett City Associates hopes to complete the sale by September 15.

Congressman Towns said, "I am concerned that so many Brooklyn families are stressed and stretched during these turbulent economic times of rising unemployment and record high prices for everything from gas to food.

"With a shortage of affordable housing in Brooklyn, it is urgent now more than ever that we preserve the affordability of Starrett City because tenants deserve protection like the ones extended to homeowners to safeguard against the ills of our struggling housing market and economy," he added.

The Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 aims to help families in danger of losing their homes to refinance into lower-cost government-insured mortgages they can afford to repay. It also includes a provision which creates a new fund to boost the nation's stock of affordable rental housing in both rural and urban areas.

Formally renamed Spring Creek Towers five years ago, Starrett City was originally a real estate investment for some 249 limited partners, including billionaire Donald Trump.

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