Dear Partners and Friends,
Last week, we kicked off Where We Live NYC, the city’s comprehensive fair housing planning process, which will include data and policy analysis, extensive community participation, and the setting of goals and strategies to promote fair housing and equal opportunity in New York City. As I stated in an Op-Ed in Crain's New York last month, despite the federal government’s decision to delay implementation of the Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH), the City of New York remains committed to the principles of the AFH, and our obligation to affirmatively further fair housing. Where We Live NYC is an unprecedented opportunity to work with government partners, community organizations, and the general public to take a comprehensive look at the historic and ongoing factors that contribute to longstanding patterns of segregation in our neighborhoods, and discuss what we as a City can do to increase housing choice and access to opportunity for all New Yorkers. Read more in the Where We Live NYC launch press release and the Where We Live NYC coverage in Curbed New York.
We launched our new Mobile Unit and first state-of-the-art HPD Outreach Van. Thanks to funding from the Bronx and Brooklyn Borough Presidents, HPD will now be able to travel throughout the city to provide New Yorkers with the services and resources they need directly in their communities. View the van’s schedule or send us an email if you are interested in scheduling an event. Read more in the HPD Outreach Van press release and see the News12 coverage and NY1 Noticias coverage in Spanish.
We introduced HPD’s new coloring book, “Keeping Your Home Safe with Mickey and Nemo,” to educate children and families on how to keep their homes healthy and safe. The book stars Mickey and Nemo, HPD’s two bed bug detecting beagles who help educate children about key home safety tips and common housing complaints such as the requirements for heat and hot water in the cold winter months. Read more in the coloring book press release.
Every three years, HPD partners with the US Census Bureau to conduct the New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey (NYCHVS), which has been used to measure the rental vacancy rate and housing stock for the city since 1965. We recently released the 2017 survey findings, which reveal several bright spots, including that incomes are now rising more than rents, but the vacancy rate remains stubbornly low at 3.63 percent, below the emergency threshold of 5 percent that triggers the extension of State and local rent regulation laws. The findings underscore the city’s stubborn affordability crisis, and the need for more affordable housing and stronger rent stabilization laws, so critical to protecting low-cost housing. Read more in the NYCHVS 2017 survey findings press release.
The agency is looking to harness the creativity of industry experts for the City’s new modular construction pilot program, Modular NYC. The program will leverage the use of innovative modular design and technology to deliver affordable housing opportunities faster and more efficiently. A Request for Proposals (RFP) for a modular affordable housing development on one or more City-owned sites will be released later this year. Read more in the Modular NYC press release and The Real Deal coverage.
To advance the goals of Housing New York 2.0, HPD issued the term sheet for the new Open Door program, which finances the construction of affordable homes for first time buyers. With Habitat for Humanity NYC, we announced development plans for Sydney House in the Williamsbridge section of the Bronx, the first affordable housing development to be built through Open Door. Read more in the Open Door press release and the Open Door coverage in Curbed New York.
With a number of non-profit organizations and other partners, we acquired 38 distressed mortgage notes for one- to four-family properties located in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island through the City’s Community Restoration Fund Program (CRF). CRF was established in 2015 to stabilize neighborhoods with high rates of foreclosure and distress, ensure positive outcomes for homeowners and residents, and maintain affordability and viability of the housing stock across the City to keep our neighborhoods strong and thriving. Read more in the CRF Program press release and the CRF coverage in CityLab.
We designated nine development teams to build almost 500 homes in the third and final round of our New Infill Homeownership Opportunities Program (NIHOP) and Neighborhood Construction Program (NCP) RFQ. These two programs were specifically designed to find a way to put small, hard-to-develop sites to use as affordable homes and apartments. In total, these programs will create almost 1,100 affordable homes on 160 vacant lots scattered across many city neighborhoods. Read more in the NIHOP and NCP press release.
We announced a development team, including CLOTH, Ranger Properties, The Children’s Village, and Alembic to develop the Inwood Library site. The Eliza—fittingly named for one of the earliest supporters of the Inwood library and a champion of literacy and education—weds deeply affordable homes with a beautifully redesigned library and a new pre-K facility that will benefit the Inwood neighborhood for generations to come. Read more in the Inwood Library press release.
With our partners, we celebrated the opening of a supportive housing development in Harlem, and a new 100% affordable housing development in the Lenox Hill section of Manhattan made possible through our Inclusionary Housing program. And we joined the Deputy Mayor and project partners to inaugurate the Frances Goldin Apartments, the first residential building to go up on the Seward Park urban renewal site, now home to more than 100 seniors, including six who were dislocated from their homes almost fifty years ago.
Two new interactive maps were launched to help people visualize the affordable housing we are creating and preserving at record pace, and to identify open lotteries on Housing Connect. The Housing New York map displays the projects counted towards the Housing New York plan at the building and unit level, and the Housing Connect Lottery map is the latest in a series of efforts to simplify the process of finding and applying for affordable housing opportunities. Read more in the Housing Connect Lottery map press release.
In January, the Mayor announced that Deputy Commissioner Vito Mustaciuolo has agreed to serve as the Acting General Manager at the New York City Housing Authority. Vito’s decades-long career in City government and vast experience enforcing the quality and safety of the city’s housing stock makes him uniquely qualified, and I am deeply grateful to him for his service. Assistant Deputy Commissioner AnnMarie Santiago is now serving as Acting Deputy Commissioner of Enforcement and Neighborhood Services. With more than twenty years of experience in code enforcement at HPD, AnnMarie has touched upon every part of the agency’s work to protect our city’s residents, and I am confident that the Division’s work will carry on seamlessly under her strong and capable leadership. Read more in the NYCHA General Manager appointment press release.
These are just some of the highlights of all that is going on at HPD. We also released round 11 of the Alternative Enforcement Program list, suspended 421-a benefits to more than 1,700 property owners who have not complied with the requirements of the program, rolled out the agency’s new and improved eRent Roll system, streamlining the submission of rent rolls, and the list goes on.
Despite, or perhaps because of, the ongoing war being waged on public and affordable housing, we continue to push forward on our work with renewed energy and urgency. Last month, the President released his executive budget, again proposing deep cuts to programs that provide a decent standard of living for Americans in every state and city. More than ever, we are committed to fighting these cuts and advocating for the resources we need to provide the safe, stable, affordable housing our communities desperately need and deserve.
While there are many threats and challenges on the course ahead, I believe there are also profound opportunities. I look forward to working with all of you – our partners in the affordable housing community – to ensure that this is a city where safe, affordable homes are within everyone’s reach.