For Immediate Release: Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Contact: Libby Rohlfing (HPD), rohlfinge@hpd.nyc.gov

 

HPD Announces Laws Focused on Shining a Spotlight on Vacant Land That Could Be Developed for Affordable Housing Across the City

Laws advance the Mayor’s Housing New York 2.0 plan to build 300,000 affordable homes in all corners of City

 

New York— Yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced two laws that shine a spotlight on vacant land, both public and private, across the city to further accelerate the production of affordable housing. This legislation is just the latest effort to help the City reach its goal of building 300,000 affordable over the next decade.

One of the new laws, 1036-A, requires the City to collect information on vacant public and private lots and buildings in areas zoned for residential use and publish the data every five years. The second, 1039-A, requires the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to issue an annual report to the Mayor and City Council on City-owned vacant lots under its jurisdiction by Council District. The report will provide details about how many sites are being used to build affordable housing.

“More affordable housing is the key to making New York neighborhoods more stable, more diverse and to making this a fairer City. With these new laws we shine a light on buildings and vacant land sitting empty – and that will help us meet a goal of creating 300,000 affordable homes -- enough for the entire population of Boston,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“Under Housing New York, we are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to produce affordable housing at unprecedented levels," said Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. As HPD continues to move aggressively through its dwindling inventory of vacant land, developing thousands of affordable homes, and issuing a record number of RFPs, this new legislation reflects our commitment to greater reporting and transparency.  I want to thank Councilmembers Rodriguez and Williams and the many agencies and advocacy groups who partnered with us to find new ways to help unlock more opportunities to develop vacant and underutilized land.”

“Making the city more affordable takes all the tools of government and strong collaboration between agencies” said Acting Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations, Emily W. Newman. “The Mayor’s Office of Operations is thrilled to be a key part of this powerful initiative to increase affordable housing citywide.”

"For the first time in its history, New York City will be empowered to conduct a  census of vacant property," said Council Member Jumaane Williams. "The affordable housing and homelessness crisis we face presents an incredibly complex problem, and enacting this legislation provides us with an essential tools toward creating solutions. As someone who participated in the count that took place on the ground over a decade ago, I know how important this tool will be. Finally, we'll be able to understand the extent of property warehousing throughout the five boroughs, and craft real policy solutions that create housing for all New Yorkers, especially those who are currently without homes. To reach the housing goals that the Mayor has set, these actions are essential, and I thank him for taking action on this legislation. I further thank Public Advocate Letitia James and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez for recognizing the urgency of this issue, and all of those who have worked tirelessly toward making this new tool a reality."

“The housing crises challenging our city are greatly complex requiring a multi-pronged approach and all of our attention. These bills will help us identify and record vacant properties, understand how pervasive property warehousing is in the city, and educate us on how to most effectively allocate our resources. Every New Yorker deserves to live in stable, permanent housing. I am confident that with these bills and the resources out forth by the Administration to tackle homelessness and the lack of affordable housing we will reach our goals. Thank you to the Mayor, the Public Advocate Letitia James, and Council Member Jumaane Williams who worked hard to bring this to a vote in the Committee on Housing and Buildings. I look forward to furthering this work and identifying more opportunities to develop affordable and permanent housing alongside the Administration, Speaker Corey Johnson, and my colleagues in government,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.

“Today marks a turning point in the fight for housing for homeless folks,” said Picture the Homeless (PTH) executive director Monique “Mo” George. “This is the first step toward holding landlords accountable, especially in areas of heavy gentrification. To me, there’s nothing more powerful than the people who walk into our office to fight for justice, and then go out to sleep on the sidewalk or in the shelters. Nobody understands what it means to be an activist and then go out and sleep in the freezing cold, and still come back day after day. That’s strength beyond measure. That’s what passed these bills.”

Intro 1036, sponsored by Council member Ydanis Rodriquez requires the City to create an estimate of vacant public and private lots and buildings throughout the city, and to publish that list in three years and update the list every five years.

Intro 1039, sponsored by Jumaane Williams mandates that HPD issue an annual aggregate report on HPD’s public sites indicating whether lots have been designated for development, are programmed, or have development challenges, and issuing that information disaggregated by Council District.

The City is committed to maximizing the remaining public sites available and appropriate for housing development. For example, of the remaining 1,000 tax lots under HPD’s jurisdiction, more than half are part of an existing RFP or are planned for future development as affordable housing. The rest are programmed for non-residential use or face significant development challenges, including odd shapes for homes, small sizes that requires assemblage, and importantly, resiliency planning and infrastructure investment:

 

Given these constraints, HPD has been partnering with other City agencies to develop affordable housing on public sites in their jurisdiction. As a result of work done to date under Housing New York, the City has accelerated its Request for Proposal pipeline, issuing 25 RFPs for 62 projects across 139 public sites. Those RFPs will generate more than 9,500 affordable homes.

And a critical component of the recently released Housing New York 2.0 plan is a series of proposals to unlock the potential of vacant lots long considered too small or irregular for traditional housing stock through innovative design and construction, and develop more affordable housing on lots long used for parking at existing Mitchell-Lama and HUD-regulated complexes, among other reforms.

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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 Plan which was recently expanded and accelerated through Housing New York 2.0 to complete the initial goal of 200,000 homes two years ahead of schedule—by 2022, and achieve an additional 100,000 homes over the following four years, for a total of 300,000 homes by 2026.  For full details visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing.