FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, May 1, 2017
CONTACT: Juliet Pierre-Antoine, 212-863-5682
NYC DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING PRESERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT COMMISSIONER
MARIA TORRES-SPRINGER ANNOUNCES EAST HARLEM HOUSING PLAN
Following Extensive Community Engagement, HPD Releases Plan to Promote Affordable Housing and Economic Opportunity in East Harlem as the Public Review Process for Rezoning Begins
NEW YORK, NY – NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer today announced the release of a draft East Harlem Housing Plan. The release of the housing plan follows the launch of the public review component of the City’s East Harlem Initiative and builds off of the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan, a community-based vision for the future of the neighborhood. The four central goals of the East Harlem Housing Plan are to (1) Preserve existing affordable housing, (2) Develop new affordable housing, (3) Increase access to affordable housing, and (4) Promote economic opportunity.
“The East Harlem Housing Plan charts a path forward for the future of housing and economic opportunity in East Harlem, guided by extensive community engagement,” said HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “This initial blueprint seeks to put community priorities at the forefront as we work to preserve, develop, and increase access to affordable housing while promoting economic opportunity for residents. Thank you to our team at HPD, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and all of the community leaders and residents for their input. I look forward to the work ahead, alongside our community partners, as we seek to refine and implement this exciting plan.”
Since 2003, HPD has financed the construction or preservation of 13,000 units of affordable housing in East Harlem. Along with 15,000 apartments managed by NYCHA, East Harlem has one of the largest concentrations of rent-regulated housing in New York City. Following a period of extensive community engagement, including the creation of the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan, an initiative led by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to capture the priorities and vision of the community, HPD developed the East Harlem Housing Plan. The plan aims to build on the vision laid out by the community to provide greater affordability and economic opportunity in East Harlem.
Based on feedback received during the public review process for the neighborhood-wide rezoning, which initiated on April 24, HPD will make refinements to the East Harlem Housing Plan. A final housing plan will be released before the end of 2017, in concert with public review of the rezoning.
PRESERVING AFFORDABLE HOUSING
HPD plans to introduce a number of programs and strategies to preserve affordability in East Harlem and ensure that both landlords and tenants have access to the wide array of resources at their disposal. This starts with continuing to offer loans and tax incentives to owners to keep their buildings affordable, but it does not end there. HPD will implement an extensive outreach strategy to connect with owners, help them make repairs, and incentivize them to preserve affordability for tenants. HPD will also pilot a Landlord Ambassadors Program to provide technical assistance to East Harlem property owners.
Preserving affordability also means protecting tenants in affordable housing. HPD will continue to rigorously enforce the Housing Maintenance Code and prioritize the surveying of distressed properties in East Harlem to ensure the housing stock is safe and healthy. HPD will also work to ensure tenants are aware of their rights and have the resources they need to protect themselves. That includes educating tenants about their rights, continuing to provide free legal representation to East Harlem tenants facing harassment, and working with the Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force to hold landlords accountable.
DEVELOPING AFFORDABLE HOUSING
With available land scarce, the City will expedite the construction of over 2,400 affordable homes on publicly owned land in East Harlem, including projects that have been in development as well as those prioritized based on feedback from the community. In addition, through the rezoning, HPD will work to implement Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) in the area to require that all new residential developments include permanently affordable homes. This will be coupled with financing to incentivize the creation of affordable housing that exceeds what is required under MIH. Finally, HPD will work to support mission-driven groups interested in developing affordable housing on underutilized sites and will work to explore opportunities to finance affordable artist housing.
INCREASE ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING
HPD is committed to ensuring individuals of all backgrounds have access to the affordable housing we are creating in record numbers. Through the Housing Ambassadors program, HPD is partnering with local non-profits like the 116th St Block Association, Wheeling Forward/The Axis Project, and the Actor’s Fund. These organizations work directly with residents to help them understand, prepare for, and complete the affordable housing application process. HPD is also committed to better advertising housing lotteries, ensuring advertisements are available in a variety of different languages, and continuing to refine marketing guidelines to ensure they reach New Yorkers most in need.
PROMOTE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY
Affordable housing must be paired with economic opportunity to truly allow families and communities to thrive. HPD plans to collaborate with the Upper Manhattan Workforce1 Career Center to connect residents to jobs in the building trades. This will take place in addition to expanded incentives for developers of HPD-finance projects to hire locally. Finally, HPD is working to expand opportunities for minority and women-owned business enterprises in the affordable housing development industry.
For more information or to see the full East Harlem Housing Plan, please visit HPD’s website.
About the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD):
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and diverse, thriving neighborhoods for New Yorkers through loan and development programs for new affordable housing, preservation of the affordability of the existing housing stock, enforcement of housing quality standards, and educational programs for tenants and building owners. HPD is tasked with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough Ten-Year Plan to create and preserve 200,000 affordable units for New Yorkers at the very lowest incomes to those in the middle class. For more information visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing.