26 Jul

Intro 730 Passes City Council Vote

Posted under Policy

As mentioned a few weeks ago, Intro 730, a City Council bill requiring a variety of reporting requirements for affordable housing developments opposed by certain segments of the affordable housing development community, passed the City Council yesterday. There is still hope for the affordable housing developers who don’t like the provisions of the bill. Mayor Bloomberg has thirty (30) days to sign the bill into local law. If he vetoes the bill, then the City Council will need to overide his veto.

More transparency vs. he growth of small businesses is at stake. Which should win out?

Council OKs Controversial Affordable Housing Rule [Crain's]

 

 

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24 Jul

Hearing on Affordable Housing at Atlantic Yards

Posted under Construction, Financing, Policy

Housing Nexus cannot do justice to the literal “blow by blow” detailed coverage by Atlantic Yards Report of the first hearing regarding the construction of the building, abutting the almost complete Barclay’s Center, known as “B2″ as part of the Atlantic Yards development. A link to their coverage is below.

B@ Atlantic yards Rendering

“B2″ via Curbed

Note that there was continued dismay amongst the speakers at the hearing that AMI (or area median income) is defined not only by the immediate counties of New York City, but also by the surrounding suburbs in Northern New Jersey and Nassau and Suffolk counties of Long Island. That’s rather shocking considering the great income disparities between East New York and Great Neck, New York (If you’ve been to Great Neck, you know this). Since the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development is the governmental entity that sets AMI levels, is this agency doing low- and moderate-income people in New York City a disservice?

A Confounding First HDC Hearing on First Atlantic Yards Tower [Atlantic Yards Report]

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06 Jul

Some in Affordable Housing Industry Oppose Intro 730

Posted under Policy

One of the biggest complaints around New York City concerning affordable housing is the lack of transparecy relating to awards of New York City HPD grants and loans, the disclosure of the recipients of all of this government money, and the low wages of workers who are building affordable developments.

The City Council listened to this complaint and drafted the bill Intro 730. The problem? In a letter from select small real estate developers and subcontractors, some members of the affordable housing community  are squawking about the reporting requirements of the bill as it will “impose a tremendous and overwhelming administrative burden on on us – local, small, and medium sized businesses….”  This group goes on to complain that these businesses will have to add someone simply to process the level of reporting required by the bill [The horror of employing someone in a horrible job market]. The full letter is here.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Asssociation  for Neighborhood  and Housing Development testified that some of the bills provisions are sorely needed for the New York City’s affordable world, but even they conceded it may be a bit burdensome and possibly violate privacy for one-person shops. Their testimony is here.

What say you about this bill? Often there’s a complaint that certain organizations and developers are getting all of the funds to develop housing here in the City, so why not support a bill that promotes seeing who’s really getting what? Is setting up a reporting system really going to hurt small businesses that provide services to the affordable housing community, an industry already riddled with reporting requirements as it is?

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02 Jul

Housing Groups & the FY 2013 NYC Budget

Posted under News, Policy

The NYC budget passed before the end of the City’s fiscal year on June 30. As usual, many individual organizations around the city will get funding to provide necessary community-based services to New Yorkers. The City Council member items/grants from the City budget often are used to award Council members’ favorite organizations, special individuals and pet programs. The locally powerful and influential pet organization of the Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair and Chair of the New York State Assembly Housing Committee, Vito Lopez, called the Ridgewood-Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, is one of these lucky groups. The City may actually rescind the over $873,000 awarded to the organization in this year’s FY 2013. Wouldn’t you think twice about giving money to anyone if you knew they were being investigated for alleged misappropriation of money?

 

Vito Lopez

Vito Lopezvia the New York Daily News

Here’s a look at a few other housing grants from the FY 2013 budget:

  • The Pratt Center for Community Development will receive $134,000 for the Pratt Block by Block Retrofits, an “energy audit research program to increase emergency retrofits in New York City.”
  • The New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development received $45,000 for the new program, which will compile a database for privately-owned subsidized housing in New York City. The program will be administered by the Furman Center. This was a part of the Speaker’s State of City address earlier this year (so it’s DEFINITELY going to be funded).

 

Several of the other initiatives require the City Council to designate community groups when appropriate, including $1.25M to the “Housing Preservation Initiative” to “design and implement grassroots-based approach to the most critical threat to affordable housing in their individual community.”

The expense budget and the capital budget breakdowns are here and here, respectively.

Gotham Gazzette provides good data regarding the total amount of monies awarded to individual Council members and the process for determining the awards here.

Do you think your City Council District got enough cash in this year’s budget?

Happy researching!

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22 Feb

Keys to a “Healthy” Housing System

Posted under Policy

The BiPartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission currently has a timely question being discussed in its online Housing Expert Forum: What are some of the key aspects of a healthy housing system? And how can the success of these features be measured? 

Some of the answers aren’t new to those involved in affordable housing development and policy. The forum experts have highlighted the importance of private sector involvement; maintenance and preservation of existing housing; continuing to expand the options for affordable housing to those that need it; and creating housing that just doesn’t give people a place to live but address their larger personal needs.

A full discussion is on the BiPartisan Policy Center’s site here.

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13 Feb

HUD’s FY13 Budget

Posted under Financing, HUD, Policy, Public Housing

President Barack Obama sent his FY13 budget to Congress today.

Take  a look at HUD’s budget here.

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13 Feb

A New York City Housing Boom?

Posted under Policy

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) released its housing vacancy survey report on Friday, February 10, 2012. As required by state and local rent regulation laws, New York City must calculate the amount of available apartment units in the the five boroughs. The survey is necessary in order to ensure the continuance of rent regulation laws, which require a city-wide vacancy rate of under 5% in order to remain in effect. A vacancy rate of less than 5% is an indication of a “housing emergency” triggering the need for rent stabilized housing.

For more in-depth information, HPD has selected findings available on its website here.

Housing and Vacancy Survey Reveals Boom in Housing Units [Brooklyn Eagle]

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09 Feb

Affordable Housing & Quinn’s 2012 State of the City

Posted under Policy

Christine Quinn, Speaker of the New York City Council, has just delivered her 2012 State of the City address. During her speech, she highlighted several policy proposals affecting affordable and public housing. Her speech touched the following areas:

Small Business – The Speaker states that the City Council, led by Councilperson Inez Dickens, in conjunction with the NYC Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Small Business Services will use New Markets Tax Credits proceeds in the form of a $10million loan fund for small business in communities with high rates of unemployment. [HNNYC: Is this possible? New Markets can be used for things other than development projects? Apparently so.]

Affordable Housing Preservation –  The Speaker stressed the need to preserve as many buildings as possible throughout New York City as they come to the end of their affordability periods. Calling it “permanent affordability”, the Speaker says that the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) will require some of the largest projects to provide 60 years of affordable rents to its residents.

Combating Homelessness – The Speaker stated that homeless families need to be given priority for acquiring Section 8 vouchers and housing from the New York City Housing Authority. The Speaker stated that these initiatives are not just about a moral imperative to help the homeless, but it also reflects fiscal responsibility. It costs the city $800 per family per month for a rental subsidy for a homeless family as opposed to $2500 per family per month to house them in a shelter.

Code Enforcement & Buildings - While not very clear on specifics, the Speaker and Councilwoman Gale Brewer will work to provide HPD with expanded powers to prosecute landlords who do not clear violations and make necessary repairs to their buildings. The Speaker acknowledged that private developers aren’t the only ones that have not done their share of building upkeep. Speaker Quinn stated that the Council will provide a greater financial commitment to NYCHA by providing them with more funds to make over 100,000 repairs in its buildings in a timely manner.

Read the close to full speech here (apparently some of things were added t the last minute)

 

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