Real Estate

NYC Mayor wins approval for affordable housing plan

Plan overcame torrent opposition

New York City's affordability crisis could start finally turn a corner as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration celebrate the passing of the NYC affordable-housing plan.

According to Bloomberg:

A council vote for the proposal Tuesday would overcome a torrent of opposition last November, when almost all of the city’s 59 local community boards rejected the idea. The mayor was able to get approval after he agreed to a council demand to open the program to residents of even more modest means than he had first identified. 

“It’s the biggest vote the City Council has taken in this term, no question about it,” de Blasio said in his City Hall office on the eve of the vote.

His success came after a change in his governing style, getting out more to conduct neighborhood town halls and radio and television interviews. His staff sold the program to a diverse coalition of seniors, clergy and union leaders, just as he had done managing political campaigns.

“If he had failed, it would have been a political fiasco,” said Councilman David Greenfield, head of the land-use committee and a key negotiator with the administration. “It was a centerpiece of the mayor’s 2013 election campaign to create affordable housing, and, for most New Yorkers, it’s their number one concern.”

In de Blasio’s affordable housing plan, he states that:

1.     Between 2005 and 2012, rents rose by 11% while renter’s incomes stagnated, after adjusting for inflation.

2.     In 2012, almost 55% of all rental households were rent-burdened (spending more than 30% of their incomes on housing costs). The share of households who are rent-         burdened increased by more than 11 percentage points since 2000.

3.     More than 30% of rental households are “severely rent-burdened” because they spend more than 50% of their incomes on housing.

“Affordable housing is part of the bedrock of what makes New York City work. It’s what underpins the economically diverse neighborhoods New Yorkers want to live in. It’s critical to providing financial stability for working families, helping them get ahead and build a better life,” said de Blasio in the plan.

“Our affordable housing policies must reach every New Yorker in need, which is why this plan thinks big about the changes we need to make—in government and in the private sector—to make this a city where everyone rises together, and everyone has a safe and decent home,” added de Blasio.

In a recent survey from Baruch College, de Blasio’s approval rate increased from September’s 44% to 58%.

Bloomberg also states that the mayor gained support from at least a half a dozen unions, gathering much-publicized endorsements from civil-rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton and a group of more than 60 clergy, and won over the Real Estate Board of New York, which represents landlords and developers.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” Councilman Donovan Richards was quoted saying.

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