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HUD Secretary Julian Castro and Elected Officials Applaud Passage of Key Affordable Housing Reforms

March 23, 2016

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro said, "Every person deserves a place to call home, but across the nation, too many families are feeling the pressure of a housing affordability crisis. HUD is committed to helping communities confront this crisis, but that work requires strong partners at the local level. I commend Mayor de Blasio and Council Speaker Mark-Viverito for their leadership in achieving a robust affordable housing plan, including an ambitious Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program, to ensure more New Yorkers can continue to live in the city that they love."

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said, "Our work has resulted in a plan that addresses the magnitude of our city's affordability crisis by encouraging smart, sustainable affordable housing production – while also supporting local residents and their communities. Together, Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability comprise one of the boldest affordable housing plans in the nation, and will generate tens of thousands of homes for New Yorkers across the city. The Council was proud to strengthen the plan by creating even deeper affordability, closing loopholes, protecting neighborhood character, fostering economic integration, and supporting local hiring and community development. I thank the Mayor, City Council members and all the New Yorkers who made their voices heard and played an integral role in this substantive process."

"Since I was elected Borough President, I've called for affordable housing to be required in every new Manhattan development," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "The Mandatory Inclusionary Housing plan is a big step toward that goal, it has the potential to put a big dent in our city's housing crisis, and that makes it worth celebrating."

Council Member David G. Greenfield said, "Yesterday, the City Council passed the strongest and most aggressive affordable housing program in the country. I am proud that under Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito's leadership we spent months listening to all New Yorkers and engaged in an open and collaborative process that led to significant changes that reflect the needs of individual communities. The bottom line is that this plan is a game-changer that will create tens of thousands of affordable housing units for the people of New York."

Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer said, "We must make sure that we have enough affordable housing for this to remain a city for all, and not just for the rich. Over the course of council negotiations, significant changes were made to MIH and ZQA to address and respond to concerns of residents of the 26th district, including issues brought up by Community Boards 1 and 2. These areas of concern were all addressed in some form in the final package I voted on yesterday. These changes have made MIH and ZQA stronger pieces of legislation, and turned them into bills that will allow more affordable housing while maintaining existing communities."

Council Member Donovan Richards, Chair of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises, said, "After very productive negotiations, I am confident that we have crafted an affordable housing plan that promotes responsible community development and serves a larger percentage of New Yorkers than the original proposal. Since the current voluntary system is not doing enough to serve New Yorkers earning a wide range of incomes, it is clear that we need a program that mandates affordable housing. We have found that balance of responsible development, while avoiding a program that stifles growth. After working through the Council's concerns with the de Blasio administration, I am in support of both MIH and ZQA in its newly-crafted form as it is the most aggressive affordable housing policy in the country. I'd like to thank Mayor de Blasio, Emma Wolfe, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito, my colleagues in the Council, Raju Mann and the Council's Land Use staff, and every resident and community organization that came out to our hearings to help us shape a program that factors in the needs and concerns of our diverse city. I look forward to getting to work on all the upcoming neighborhood rezoning that now must feature affordable units for working families and seniors."

Council Member Brad Lander said, "When the Bloomberg administration proposed to up-zone Brooklyn's 4th Avenue, we had a simple idea, a requirement that some of the housing would be affordable so that families could stay in the neighborhood as it developed. Our ideas were derided, and instead 4th Avenue was up-zoned with no chance of affordable housing. As a result we ended up with hundreds of units of market rate housing, and buildings without any low or moderate income families. I'm thrilled that after today, we won't be making that mistake again. Thanks to Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito for their commitment to mandatory affordability and permanent affordability, and to everyone on the Mayor and Council's staff who helped lead such a significant and challenging process. Today marks a major victory for diverse and inclusive neighborhoods across New York City."

Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez said, "For years, New York City had little ability to combat rising rents and support those fighting to stay in their communities. Today, that is changing. This ambitious and comprehensive plan is drawing a line in the sand against gentrification by mandating for the first time ever, the construction of permanent affordable housing for residents from an array of income levels, including families making as low $31,000 per year. The impacts of this plan will keep New York City affordable for decades to come and stop the pricing out of long-time residents who have built up the communities where they reside."

Council Member Mark Levine said, "New York City sent a powerful message that the era of giving away development rights while asking for nothing in return is over. The passage of MIH and ZQA is a crucial step forward towards the goal of keeping New York City a place where people of all backgrounds can live and prosper. The final MIH plan includes affordable apartments directed at low-to-moderate income New Yorkers, which will allow flexibility for neighborhoods to meet the targeted needs of their communities. ZQA will spur the creation of much-needed affordable housing for seniors, providing relief to thousands who have been languishing for years on waiting lists. I want to congratulate Mayor de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, all of the advocates and my colleagues who worked so hard to make this significant legislation possible."

Council Member Daniel Dromm said, "This is a tremendous victory for the people of New York City. Securing 200,000 units of affordable housing was no easy task. Ultimately this will lead to more integrated neighborhoods which will have a tremendous positive impact on our city. I commend Mayor Bill de Blasio on this major accomplishment."

Council Member Mathieu Eugene said, "Housing is a basic human right and our city must do everything possible to stop homelessness. Mayor Bill de Blasio's affordable housing plan is a great step to help ensure that everyone in our city will have a place to call home. Though initially there were concerns that this plan did not do enough for lower-income residents, I'm pleased that Mayor de Blasio came to my district for a Town Hall to discuss the plan with our community. He listened to the suggestions of my colleagues and my neighbors and he has made sure there is deeper affordability in this plan. I'd like to commend Mayor de Blasio for his efforts, and I'd also like to thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and my colleagues in the City Council for working together to make sure that we can count on having affordable housing for lower and moderate income families."

Council Member Vincent J. Gentile said, "I am proud that this City Council passed ZQA and MIH. We devised a groundbreaking plan that will ameliorate our City's growing housing crisis while maintaining the contextual zoning that is so important to improving the quality of life of all New Yorkers. Thank you to everyone who has worked tirelessly on this issue, and I look forward to the Mayor's passage of this legislation."

Council Member Steve Levin said, "'Permanent' is not a word we usually use to describe our ever-changing city. This affordable housing plan marks a line in the sand. No matter how much change our community undergoes affordable housing will always be a fixture in our community. The affordable housing set-aside guarantees that a city known for diversity maintains its economic diversity, and that it always welcomes everyone despite their financial status. Permanent affordable housing is the new normal, and this bill will be a platform on which future affordable housing will be built."

Council Member Ben Kallos said, "Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Housing and Affordability will build affordable housing for all New Yorkers while protecting light and air by limiting building heights. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio and his administration for working with Speaker Mark-Viverito and the Council to make this the best housing plan for as many New Yorkers as possible."

Council Member Robert E. Cornegy said, "The affordable housing plan includes goals and strategies we could only dream of during the two decades when Republican mayors ran City Hall. I'm grateful that at this moment, when a major intervention to protect the affordability of our city is absolutely imperative, we have leaders in City government who are committed to keeping New York City affordable for generations to come. I commend Mayor de Blasio for his vision and commitment and applaud every elected official, City employee, non-profit housing provider and resident who worked to understand and improve MIH and ZQA over many months. The process was long, rigorous and worthwhile. This policy is the prize."

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