After months of criticism that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s housing plan wouldn’t do enough for low-income New Yorkers, his administration released a new plan. The new proposal would allocate 50,000 affordable apartments to “very low” and “extremely low income” New Yorkers (compared to 40,000 before) but keep the total number of affordable apartments at 200,000. That would help families of three earning less than $42,950, half of the area median income for the greater New York City area.
However, advocates including New York Communities for Change and Councilmember Jumaane Williams derided the changes as insufficient, pointing to the overwhelming need.
Meanwhile, the new 421-a program, which gives a tax break to developers in exchange for affordable housing, no longer helps residents of the community where the project is built.
The program, which housing advocates see as a giveaway to developers, previously required developers to market affordable units to residents of the surrounding neighborhood before the rest of the city. However, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Affordable New York bill earlier this year, it no longer included the requirement. The Governor’s office says they weren’t involved in removing the language and so far, no one has taken credit for the change.
Whatever the reason for the removal, the rule may have been in trouble anyway. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development had been investigating whether those rules violated the Fair Housing Act. Critics also said it too often benefited middle-income New Yorkers at the expense of the very poor.