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Mayor De Blasio Breaks A 27-Year Record For The Most Affordable Housing Built In NYC

Despite the mayor’s record numbers for creating affordable housing in NYC, his detractors are saying it’s all a hoax.

By Jeff Vasishta January 20, 2017

The numbers don’t lie. New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio has created more affordable housing in NYC in 2016, mostly new construction, than any anytime since 1989. The New York Times reported that the mayor, who has made housing for the poor and working class one of the centerpieces of his administration, has built or preserved 21,963 units of housing for those who need it the most.

Breaking the numbers down, the total includes 6,844 apartments in newly constructed buildings, according to data provided by city housing officials. Thirty-five percent of the units were set aside for three-person households making no more than $40,800.

Before the Mayor took office in 2014, he pledged to build 200,000 of affordable housing in a decade. Clearly, he has a way to go. His numbers were buoyed by the reworking of the 421-a tax plan. It offers tax incentives to developers who include affordable housing in their new buildings (usually around 20 percent.)

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“I want people struggling out there to know that this is still your city,” Mr. de Blasio said when the numbers were announced on Jan 11th. “We are fighting to keep New York a place that seniors, the middle class and families trying to make it to the middle class can actually afford.”

There have been detractors, though. The Mayor’s push for Affordable Housing comes at a time when rampant gentrification has swept across NYC. Luxury condos, sold at prices aimed squarely at the well-heeled, are in all areas. Developers, keen to utilize the 421-a tax breaks, have been including affordable housing in their towers—but the juxtaposition couldn’t be more stark. Gentrifiers get to move into an otherwise working class neighborhood en mass, so long as a small component is reserved for the working class— who will inevitably be outnumbered. Thus, gentrification continues unabated, forcing the majority of the old community out.

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Activists have been quick to condemn the mayor’s housing program, which, they feel, is really just a back door to gentrification. New York Communities for Change are spearheading a campaign known as “The Real Gentrifiers of NYC”. In their sights is the New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH), which, they feel, is a mouthpiece for for-profit developers and is responsible for gentrification, Politico reported.

“NYSAFAH developers often act like the Koch brothers and try to buy elections as a way to rig housing and development policy in their favor,” NYCC said in a statement in June 2016.

NYSAFAH, whose members include for-profit and non-profit developers, called NYCC’s campaign “a misleading political attack orchestrated by construction unions seeking to increase their market share.”

One developer has been drawing particular fire from NYCC, L+M Development Partners, a for-profit company specializing in low and moderate income housing. Ron Moelis, the founder and CEO had his Greenwich, Connecticut picketed in the summer by NYCC.

“NYSAFAH developers often act like the Koch brothers and try to buy elections as a way to rig housing and development policy in their favor,” NYCC said in a statement.

Ouch! Expect the fight to continue.

Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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