05 Sep

The Observer Observes NYCHA

Posted under Public Housing

Perhaps this rather lengthy piece about the New York City Housing Authority and its Chairman, John Rhea, in the New York Observer is the authority’s way of combating last month’s New York Daily News assassination attempt? The New York Observer does a good job of talking about the history of public housing; the fact that NYCHA is somewhat different than other housing authorities (sheer size for one); and the role that government has played in preventing the Authority’s progress.

Mayor Bloomberg John Rhea

Mayor Bloomber (l) with John Rhea (Ed Reed/Mayor’s Office) via The New York Observer

Puff piece? Probably. Press makeover? Most likely. Yet it’s one of the more balanced and informative pieces about NYCHA in recent weeks. Journalism about housing can be critical of housing leaders and their policies yet educational. Is that too much to ask? (**cough** New York Daily News **cough**). Read the full piece here.

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05 Sep

Abusing Section 8

Posted under News

With so many people desperately in need of Section 8 vouchers, coming across this story is frustrating to say the least.

Rabbi Leib Glanz

Rabbi Lieb Glanz and 85 Ross Street via The Real Deal 

That being said, there is probably Section 8 fraud out there than you can shake a stick at. It seems that Rabbi Glanz just got caught.

To get a sense of what happened here (signing over rights to the Section 8 subsidy without end), check out this and this.

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04 Sep

Development Watch: Gateway Elton

Posted under Construction, Supportive Housing

Here’s a new development to look out for:

Gateway Elton Hudson Companies & CAMBA

 

Here are the details:

Developers: Hudson Companies joint venture with CAMBA, a Brooklyn social services entity, and Related Retail

Final Unit Count: 659 Apartments

Other Spaces: 60,000 square feet of commercial space including a proposed supermarket, community center, restaurants and convenience stores

Phase One: 197 units (40 units for households earning below 40% of AMI; the remainder may earn up to 60% of AMI) and 9,000 of commercial space

Supportive Housing: at least 40 units will be seat aside as supportive housing for persons leaving New York State Office of Mental Health institutions

 

Good luck to the developers. It’s great to see development in the Spring Creek area of Brooklyn. There is so much need for good development and so there many parts of the borough that are being underserved.

Any tips on new development? Please e-mail tdm@housingnexusnyc.com

 


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04 Sep

More Housing or More Safety for Washington Heights?

Posted under Construction, News

Housing or better ambulance response times? These seem to be the two issues at play in determining whether 90 units of housing will be built at 2262 Amsterdam Avenue, a parcel owned by New York City.

The Fire Department has been looking for a spot to build an EMS station for years. The hope is that the station will cut down response times in an area that needs it desperately.

Local adcvocates and the area City Council rep Ydanis Rodriguez disagree arguing that Washington Heights has been left out of the affordable housing construction frequently built in other parts of the city, including its neighbor to the south Central Harlem. Washington Heights has seen the construction of approximately 239 units whereas Harlem has received over 2,000. The 2262 Amstrerdam site would produce 90 new units. Councilman Rodriguez believe that there are other adequate sites in the  neighborhood.

So what should it be? Can more housing be better for the community than a strategically placed ambulance station increasing safety for the entire neighborhood?

 

Will Washington Heights Get Affordable Development – or An Ambulance Depot? [The Real Deal]

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29 Aug

End of Summer Round Up

Posted under News

The New York City housing world has been shaken up by recent inquiries into the New York City Housing Authority as well as the recent legal troubles of one of the most politically powerful men in the housing arena in the city, Assemblyman Vito Lopez.

There are calls for major changes to the NYCHA board, including the possibility of a bill on the state level that would delineate those changes.

Now that Vito Lopez has been stripped of his title of Chairman of the Assembly Housing Committee, who should replace him? One good option would have been Hakeem Jeffries, but he has essentially now locked up the nomination (and likely the seat) being vacated by Ed Towns, so he’s not an option. Let the jockeying for position to head this powerful committee begin!

Will affordable housing finally come to Atlantic Yards?  Unfortunately, not in the form that Forest City Ratner promised. No surprise there.

 

Housing Nexus will be on break until after the Labor Day holiday. Enjoy the last days of summer, everyone!

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20 Aug

Bloomberg Shakes Up NYCHA Board

Posted under News

Well, it’s not clear whether the New York Daily News’ consistent barrage of negative coverage did the trick or whether it was timed with NYCHA’s release of the Boston Consulting Group’s report on its operations, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided to change the structure of the New York Housing Authority’s Board.

Instead of a Chairman, two paid full-time board members and one NYCHA resident comprising the board, the board will consist of the Chairman and four unpaid volunteer members, one of whom will be an additional NYCHA resident.

Is changing the board the way to address NYCHA’s persisting woes? Probably not. Whether someone is paid or not and whether they are a NYCHA resident or not will not automatically make the operational issues magically disappear. The New York Daily News surely thought so. In each of its almost daily articles lambasting the agency, the reporter chose to include the amount of salary of NYCHA board members’ whether germane to the article or not. NYCHA is no darling, but let’s hope these changes are not simply to avoid media scrutiny.

Amid Criticism over Media Scrutiny, Bloomberg Decides to Revamp Its Board [New York Times]

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16 Aug

NYCHA Releases $10M Boston Consulting Group Report

Posted under News

It’s not clear whether it was the New York Daily News coverage or mounting pubic pressure, but the New York City Housing Authority has decided to publicly issue the $10M report it commissioned from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The report details a variety of management inefficiencies that NYCHA claims to be addressing. NYCHA stated that BCG’s proposed changes will save the agency approximately $70M in operational funds.

Some of the proposed changes to NYCHA operations include:

-NYCHA will become more focused on development, maintenance and property management and less on providing social services. The Authority will look to other City agencies that can better provide services.

-NYCHA will create an Enterprise Project Management Office that will manage projects across NYCHA.

Good luck, NYCHA. We’ll be parsing through this report. You should, too.

NYCHA Releases Boston Consulting Group Report [NYCHA]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 Aug

Supportive Housing with a Focus on Veterans in East New York

Posted under News, Supportive Housing

With many veterans returning from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, many have economic and emotional needs when they arrive home. Finding an affordable place to live and accessing mental health services have become a hardship for many.

Genesis Neighborhood Plaza II  built by non-profit developer, HELP USA, in East New York is a development with half (49 out of 98) units reserved for homeless vets with rest reserved for low-income families.

Here’s more coverage on the development and HELP USA here.

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08 Aug

Political Maneuvering = More Affordable Housing in Washington Heights

Posted under Construction, News

Four new buildings in Washington Heights will have more affordable units than originally planned. It’s good to push developers, isn’t it? Props to the elected officials and community leaders who got results.

While Quadriad Realty Partners will still need to apply for a variance for their  four proposed 29 to 31 story buildings near the intersection of 190th Street & Broadway, the company will include more affordable apartments to the tune of 185 total units.

via Curbed 

Here’s the breakdown of units:

-52 units for low-income individuals and families (remember that’s $20,400 to $35,800 of household income)

-133 units for moderate-income indiviuals and families ($33,600- $56,000 in household income)

In addition to more units, Quadriad agreed to lower income levels for the affordable units. Good for them. Earning community support is not going to be a bad thing when moving forward with the project.

 

More Affordable Units, Shorter Towers for WaHi Development [Curbed]

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07 Aug

U.S. Senate Hears Testimony on Rental Housing Assistance Program Reform

Posted under News

The U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs convened a hearing to discuss possible changes to the Rental Housing Assistance Program that have been proposed through a series of bills currently in Congress hoping to reform the Section 8 program.

The two main issues discussed seemed to be making changes to the rent setting and streamlining the administration of the program to produce the cost savings that are desperately needed to spare the program from extinction.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition has a summary of the hearing’s main points here.

Check Housing Nexus’ Facebook Page for a link to the video archive of the hearing.

 

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