Taskforce to develop neighborhood-based strategies and citywide policies to preserve and increase affordability
City Hall— Today, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Mark Levine, Housing and Buildings Committee Chair Jumaane Williams, and the New York City Council announced the creation of an Affordable Housing Preservation Taskforce to develop neighborhood-based strategies and citywide policies to preserve and increase affordability in local communities.
The Affordable Housing Preservation Taskforce will collaborate with the City, local elected officials, residents, building owners, developers, and community stakeholders to assess housing preservation issues including housing with regulatory agreements and their expiration dates, the current stock of rent- stabilized housing, physically and financially distressed housing, and housing in HPD’s Asset and Property Management Portfolio.
The City Council will partner with HPD’s Office of Neighborhood Strategies to develop neighborhood-based affordability preservation strategies, with the goal of contacting and encouraging landlords to consider preservation financing programs to reduce property taxes or finance capital improvements, in exchange for commitments to maintain housing affordability. The Taskforce will also conduct outreach among affordable housing residents to ensure awareness of their rights as tenants and improve access available City services and resources.
“As costs of living in New York City rise, it’s imperative that we proactively protect affordability in our communities and ensure that residents can make ends meet in the neighborhoods they helped build,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The City Council’s Affordable Housing Preservation Taskforce will work with a broad spectrum of stakeholders to comprehensively assess the state of affordable housing in our city and develop strategies—locally and citywide—that will keep more families in their homes. We must ensure that our neighborhoods remain inclusive, diverse, and affordable in the face of rapid growth, and this collaborative effort will harness New York City’s resources to do just that.”
“As rents skyrocket and landlords seek to fill apartments with high income tenants, the city must work to preserve affordable housing for low-income residents. This work is most vital in historically low-income communities, where a sizable portion of the City’s rent regulated housing stock remains. I applaud Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for prioritizing housing preservation in the city agenda by forming the Housing Preservation Taskforce. The Taskforce, which I’m excited to chair with Council Member Williams, will focus much needed attention toward housing preservation programs in response to dramatic changes in the residential real estate market. These efforts will be critical if we are to preserve our neighborhoods and the fabulous diversity which makes New York the greatest city in the world,” said Council Member Mark Levine, Co-Chair of the Affordable Housing Preservation Taskforce.
“As Chair of the Council’s Housing and Buildings Committee, my goal is to help address our city’s chronic housing shortage to ensure that New York becomes a place for all to thrive. I am proud to co-chair the Affordable Housing Preservation Taskforce with Council member Levine, which will be an important way for the Council to collaborate with HPD and others to solve our affordable housing crisis and ensure the Mayor’s Housing Plan reaches its ambitious preservation goal. We must meet New York City’s affordable housing crisis with absolute urgency, so look I forward to being a part of this dynamic collaboration,” said Council Member Jumaane D. William, Co-Chair of the Affordable Housing Preservation Taskforce and Chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings.
“HPD has a long history of working with our partners in government and in neighborhoods to preserve affordable housing and ensure that it remains in solid physical and financial condition for the long-term,” said Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been. “The Council’s preservation taskforce will augment our efforts by combining the neighborhood awareness of local officials, community organizers, and other area stakeholders with our existing tools and data to develop effective strategies to reach both owners and tenants. I thank Speaker Mark-Viverito, Council Member Levine, and Housing and Buildings Committee Chair Williams for their continued partnership and attention to our shared mission of protecting our tenants and creating a more affordable and equitable city.”
Rental housing constitutes 64% of New York City’s 3.4 million housing units. Approximately 92% of the stabilized housing stock is regulated based on a “housing emergency” declared by the city in 1974 and renewed every three years since. The 2014 median income of households in rent-stabilized housing is $40,600 (50% AMI).
To complement local and neighborhood-based affordability strategies, the Affordable Housing Preservation Taskforce will also review existing citywide preservation policy and develop an affordable housing preservation agenda that will focus attention and resources on stabilizing communities experiencing rapid transition due to changes in the residential real estate market. The Taskforce will review and assess the success of existing preservation programs, and identify opportunities to advocate for improved or new programs.
Affordable Housing Preservation Taskforce Members
• Melissa Mark-Viverito – District 8, Manhattan (Speaker)
• Mark Levine – District 7, Manhattan (Co-Chair)
• Jumaane Williams – District 45, Brooklyn (Co-Chair)
• Ydanis Rodriguez – District 10, Brooklyn
• Andrew Cohen – District 11, Bronx
• Ritchie Torres – District 15, Bronx
• Costa Constantinides – District 22, Queens
• Antonio Reynoso – District 34, Brooklyn/Queens
• Robert Cornegy – District 36, Brooklyn
• Rafael Espinal – District 37, Brooklyn
• Carlos Menchaca – District 38, Brooklyn
• Darlene Mealy – District 41, Brooklyn
• David Greenfield – District 44, Brooklyn (ex officio – Committee on Land Use)
• Julissa Ferreras – District 21, Queens (ex officio – Committee on Finance)
“I commend our Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for prioritizing the important work of preserving affordable units in our communities. Our city is at a critical moment, one where we must stand to ensure residents can afford to stay in their homes and neighborhoods. As the agreement on the Astoria Cove development shows, we must work together to provide housing infrastructure that is inclusive to all in our community. Preserving affordable units for middle and working class households will go a long way to ensure that families can go to bed at night without worry that rising rents will push them from their homes. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the taskforce to identify policies that can preserve affordable housing units throughout our city,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides.
“The need for preservation of affordable housing has reached crisis level in my community. I would like to thank Speaker Mark-Viverito for bringing this group together to share resources and strategies across the city to protect at-risk tenants,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso.
“With rents skyrocketing across New York City, the preservation of affordable housing is paramount for the future of our City. All New Yorkers deserve an affordable place to live and we need to do everything we can to provide financial stability for working families and protect the economic diversity of our neighborhoods. I have worked hard to ensure that New Yorkers have stable housing, particularly our seniors and disabled residents. That is why I am pleased that Speaker Mark-Viverito has appointed me to serve on the Affordable Housing Preservation Taskforce and I am looking forward to working with my colleagues on this important issue,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen.
“Preserving the affordability of our City’s housing stock is an important priority of this City Council. The ability to ensure housing—at livable rates—is an important function of this municipal government, and it must remain that way. As communities like Sunset Park and Red Hook change for a number of reasons, we are going to remain steadfastly committed to an affordable housing stock. The Speaker’s leadership on this, particularly through the creation of this taskforce, serves as a sign to New Yorkers that we are serious about keeping our residents in our City. I look forward to serving on the Task Force,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca.
“Property owners aren’t the only New Yorkers with strong community roots. Tenants also help to anchor our neighborhoods and they want to know that their children will have the chance to call the same communities home. Preserving affordable housing is about preserving families, preserving culture and keeping New York City strong and diverse. I’m fully dedicated to bringing the needs and perspective of central Brooklyn to the affordable housing taskforce and thank Speaker Mark-Viverito for supporting this policy focus,” said Council Member Robert Cornegy.
“From Washington Heights to Bedford-Stuyvesant our city is losing the affordable housing that has made our city the diverse, melting pot that it is. As communities like ours begin to transform, so too does the fabric of our city. We as the leaders of these rapidly changing communities are proud to band together to explore mechanisms to combat rising rents so that we can maintain the spirit of our communities.” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.
“I am honored to be a member of the Council’s Affordable Housing Preservation Taskforce. The shortage of affordable housing plagues millions of New Yorkers. It’s not enough to just build new affordable housing, we must use every tool possible to preserve the affordable housing we already have. By joining this taskforce, we will be working to tackle this crisis in an innovative and strategic ways. I am looking forward to finding practical solutions to maintain our city’s desperately needed stock of affordable housing,” said Council Member David Greenfield.
Rapidly deteriorating building conditions has created a record strain on the city’s stock of affordable housing. Nowhere has this decline been more apparent than at the New York City Housing Authority. We must use every tool at our disposal to ensure that New Yorkers at every income level can continue to access safe and reliable housing. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Council’s Affordable Housing Preservation Task Force to devise and implement policies that address this critical issue,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.
“I am honored to be a part of the Council’s newly created Affordable Housing Preservation Taskforce. Being the representative of Bushwick, I have seen many of my constituents get priced out of their apartments due to the rapid increase in rents in our neighborhood or fall behind in their mortgages. This is an opportunity for us to formulate a lasting public/private partnership that addresses a critical need in our communities. I look forward to working with the Speaker and my colleagues here in the Council to bring about sensible ideas that will entice landlords to commit and preserve affordable housing across the city,” said Council Member Rafael L. Espinal, Jr.
“The preservation of our City’s existing affordable housing stock is the most important way to ensure stability and affordability of our neighborhoods. Starting in 2017 we are at risk of losing an average of 11,000 subsidized affordable units and an estimated 7,700 rent regulated units a year; that’s thousands of families in crisis. ANHD applauds the Council’s new Taskforce and their focus on preservation as a critical element of neighborhood affordability,” said Benjamin Dulchin, Executive Director of the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD).
“Affordable housing preservation is essential to protecting low and moderate income New Yorkers. Millions of tenants live in regulated and subsidized housing that is under threat of loss of affordability. We commend the City Council for creating the Affordable Housing Taskforce to prioritize preservation of already existing affordable housing to protect strong and diverse neighborhoods,” said Katie Goldstein, Executive Director of Tenants and Neighbors.
“CAMBA/CAMBA Housing Ventures, Inc. supports the New York City Council’s Affordable Housing Preservation Taskforce’s neighborhood-based approach to preservation,” said Joanne M. Oplustil, President and CEO of CAMBA/CAMBA Housing Ventures. “CAMBA takes a multi-pronged approach to affordable housing – including eviction prevention, preservation of at-risk housing and new affordable housing development. We welcome the Council’s Taskforce and partnership with HPD to preserve and protect affordable housing for New Yorkers.”