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Brewer calls for dedicated funding source for affordable housing in NYC

Also Recommends Reforming Zoning Policies as City Tackles Growing Crisis in Affordability

With housing costs the biggest issue confronting Manhattan, Borough President Gale A. Brewer is calling for a dedicated funding source to create affordable housing in the borough and a dramatic re-think of zoning policies to ensure all new developments include affordable as well as middle-income units.

“Manhattan and the City as a whole are suffering a crisis in affordability. While developers are attracted to our neighborhoods, the resulting construction too often prices out longtime residents and drives up demand and costs for City infrastructure,” Brewer said. “The City has a responsibility to ensure our residents remain in their neighborhoods and newcomers can find safe, affordable apartments. This isn’t just a development issue or a quality of life issue, but also a question of what kind of city we want New York to be.”

To help in setting the City’s affordable housing agenda, the Borough President Office’s consulted housing and budget policymakers and solicited ideas from Manhattan’s 12 Community Boards to develop recommendations. These include:

  • A dedicated funding stream to construct affordable housing, by transferring one-third of the Department of Homeless Services budget to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which would spur the creation of new permanent affordable housing units and reduce the need for exorbitant single-unit homeless housing.
  • Mandatory inclusionary housing in new Manhattan developments, including as-of-right developments, which would require all developers in the borough to include a percentage of affordable units.
  • Adjustments to existing inclusionary zoning policy to require projects receiving tax benefits to provide a higher percentage of permanent affordable units than the previously-accepted 20 percent, as well as a mix of income levels including low, moderate and middle-income units.
  • Any development on public housing property should be permanently affordable, neighborhood-focused, and based on long-term leases (not sold outright).
  • Coordinated neighborhood re-zonings that take into account cumulative impacts of multiple new developments on schools, transit and other infrastructure.
  • Creating a public database that catalogues current affordable housing, new housing, and usable City-owned space. The Borough President’s Office has “walked the walk” here, compiling a list of proposed opportunities for affordable development as recommended by Manhattan’s Community Boards. Click here to download

Additional links:

BP Brewer’s letter to City Hall.

List of recommendations.