City Hall, NY – As New York City faces a severe affordable housing crisis, the City Council Committee on Zoning and Franchises voted to approve two projects in Queens (Innovation Queens) and Brooklyn (Innovative Urban Village) that would collectively create over 5,000 units of new housing, and more than 65% (over 3,200 units) designated as affordable. The committee vote represents the first step in the Council’s land use process. The developments would create over 1,600 units (more than 30%) for extremely or very low-income households – apartments costing $700 to $1,167 for individuals with incomes between $28,020 and $46,700 or those priced at $750 to $1,501 for a family of three with incomes between $36,030 and $60,050. Deeply affordable housing units are currently the most scarcely available in New York City during this housing crisis.
“New Yorkers urgently need affordable housing now, as the housing crisis perpetuates a scarcity of available homes and inflated housing prices,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “Council Members Won and Barron have been vigorously negotiating these projects, making important progress to improve their affordability and expand community benefits. As it stands today, they would create over 5,000 units of housing, 65 percent of which would be affordable and 30 percent for extremely or very low-income households. Today’s Committee vote is a first step to keep these projects moving forward, while negotiations continue, in light of finite land use timelines. The conversations on these projects continue and additional votes remain, but it is clear that we must create thousands of affordable homes with deep affordability if we want to ensure our city remains a place for New Yorkers to thrive.”
Innovation Queens, a mixed-use housing development in Astoria to replace parking lots, underutilized industrial and commercial buildings, and vacant spaces, would create nearly 3,200 new units of housing, more than 1,400 reserved as affordable. It would be the largest addition of deeply affordable housing in the area in the past eight years, creating more than 500 extremely low-income units for individuals earning $28,020 and a family of three earning $36,030. The project would create three times more of these deeply affordable housing units than have been created in total over the previous eight years. Innovation Queens would also provide two acres of open space, community spaces for non-profit organizations, small businesses and startups, and retail spaces.
Innovative Urban Village, a mixed-use housing development in East New York by longtime neighborhood stakeholder Christian Cultural Center, would create nearly 2,000 affordable housing units – 200 for senior housing and 100 homeownership opportunities. Over 1,100 rental units (60%) would be reserved for extremely or very low-income households – individuals with incomes between $28,020 and $46,700 or a family of three with incomes between $36,030 and $60,050. The remaining 750 rental units would be set aside for low-income residents, and 100 homeownership opportunities reserved for moderate-income households at 80 to 93 percent of area median income. The development would provide a range of additional community benefits, including a 24 hour/7 days daycare, a cyber café, workforce training center, a fresh food grocery store, a performing arts center, publicly accessible open space, shuttle service to subway stations, and resilient and sustainable features.
“New York City is facing a dire affordable housing crisis that we must confront with urgency,” said Council Member Kevin Riley, Chair of the Council’s Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises. “Today’s committee vote represents an important step forward to advance two projects that will create over 5,000 units of new housing, with more than 65 percent of them designated as affordable. It is imperative that our city remains an affordable place to live for all New Yorkers. While there is still much work to be done to address the need for affordable housing in our City, these projects are a step in the right direction.”
The housing crisis facing the City is the result of a shortage of homes for New Yorkers, with demand far outpacing supply to increase housing costs. The most affordable housing units are the least available in New York City, with the vacancy rate for the lowest-income apartments equaling less than one percent, according to the City’s Housing and Vacancy Survey. Both of these projects significantly target housing opportunities at the deepest levels of affordability.