New York City spent $1.1 billion in 2017, the most ever by the city in a single year, to finance affordable housing.
The problem, some say, is that the de Blasio administration chose to do it at a time when the market has grown less favorable due, in part, to changes in the tax code coming out of Washington, DC.
Heedless of the problems, de Blasio continues to aggressively finance the initiative, enlarging spending as well as the targeted number of units 300,000 units.
“The instant that the election happened, you saw changes in the market,” Eric Enderlin, the president of the city’s Housing Development Corporation, which handles the financing aspects of the housing plan, recently told the New York Times. “We have already experienced some gaps that are driven by tax reform. We had to come up with some more money to cover those gaps.”
“Land costs are going up and that was the most serious issue, at least in my term there,” said Vicki L. Been, the former head of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development under Mr. de Blasio, to the Times. “The city has less and less land to throw into the mix.”
Adding low-cost housing has been a City Hall priority. Last fall, de Blasio announced that his administration was on track to build and protect 200,000 affordable homes by 2022, two years ahead of schedule. With the addition of new tools, programs and funding, the City said it would ramp up to securing 25,000 affordable apartments annually by 2021 and beyond — a pace it has never before reached. With that machinery in place, the City said it was taking on a new goal: 300,000 such apartments by 2026, enough for the entire population of Boston or Seattle.
The Mayor unveiled a battery of new programs designed to realize the new goal. The efforts target seniors, homeowners and tenants in existing affordable housing who need protection. To accelerate, the plan requires an additional $150 million per year in the current four-year financial plan. This brings the City’s investment in achieving 100,000 more homes to about $1.3 billion annually over nine years.
“We’ve kept our promises to New Yorkers, and now it’s time to go farther and faster,” de Blasio said. “Like Mayor Koch before us, we are building an engine that will keep families in safe, decent and affordable homes for decades to come. We will keep this a city for seniors, veterans, working families and the middle class.”
Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen noted that “Every year, we have pushed this plan deeper to reach more people in more neighborhoods. Completing this plan two years early means tens of thousands more families will come home sooner to homes they can afford.”
By Howard M. Riell