August 17, 2020
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HPD, with support from Citi, will expand capacity for nine community-based organizations that assist New Yorkers applying for affordable housing
NEW YORK, NY – The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development announced today nine community-based organizations were awarded funding to better help New Yorkers with disabilities apply to affordable housing. This effort is made possible with support from Citi and is part of the Accessibility Expansion of HPD’s Housing Ambassador Program, which connects 1.9 million active users on Housing Connect with organizations in their community that can help apply for affordable housing opportunities.
More than 110,000 applicant households have indicated that a member of their household has either a hearing, vision or mobility disability. The Accessibility Expansion program will help to ensure that information and guidance about accessing affordable housing is available for people with disabilities.
“Ensuring that all New Yorkers can access the housing opportunities the city has to offer is paramount to how we do business. We are thrilled to build upon our partnership with dedicated community partners to serve people with disabilities and bringing the city one step closer to becoming a more inclusive, fairer city,” said HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll. “I thank our Citi partners for their continued support and for helping us connect people to opportunities that can change their lives for the better.”
“HPD’s Housing Ambassador program connects New Yorkers with diverse needs to nonprofits that can help them gain access and apply to services and affordable housing,” said Gregory Schiefelbein, New York Tri-State Director, Citi Community Investing and Development. “Through our support for the Housing Ambassador program, Citi aims to reduce barriers to the affordable housing application process and help New Yorkers with disabilities gain access to quality services.”
“In my Assembly district and across the city, many people living with disabilities face unnecessary obstacles when applying for affordable housing, potentially causing them to lose out on an apartment that would enhance their overall quality of life,” said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), Chair of the Assembly Housing Committee. “This expansion of the Housing Connect program will mean that more people with disabilities will be able to learn about and apply for affordable housing opportunities from community-based organizations that understand their needs and challenges.”
“I commend the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development and Citi for coming up with funding for this vitally important initiative,” said Brian Kavanagh, chair of the State Senate Housing Committee. “I am heartened by the fact that, in spite of the enormous financial challenges the city faces due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Housing Ambassador Program will be available to make it easier for New Yorkers with hearing, visual, or mobility disabilities to access affordable housing opportunities. I look forward to working with the recipients of this grant and with fair housing organizations throughout the state to continue to find ways to further our fair housing goals and increase access to stable and affordable housing for all New Yorkers.”
The selected organizations were each awarded approximately $20,000 to expand services accessible to people with disabilities who are applying for affordable housing. This funding will allow for the organizations to make technology upgrades to help affordable housing seekers while social distancing and to procure a range of other services, including wheelchair accessible space, language interpretation and assistive technology for deaf or hard of hearing.
All affordable housing developments under the Mayor’s Housing New York plan set aside a portion of units for New Yorkers with disabilities. Since 2016, the City has marketed nearly 33,000 affordable units, nearly 2,300 of which have been designated and prioritized for people with mobility, vision, and hearing disabilities.
"Accessible affordable housing is a critical need to achieve equity and inclusion for people with disabilities," said Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities Commissioner Victor Calise. "By providing grant funding for community-based organizations, the disability community will have greater access to housing resources. MOPD applauds HPD and Citi for their work on this expansion and we look forward to our continued partnership with Citi to provide employment and financial empowerment resources through the national Empowered Cities initiative."
“The expansion of this program is only good news for New York City tenants. We know that applying to and finding affordable housing can sometimes be a challenge, especially for New Yorkers with disabilities. This expansion will help tenants with disabilities navigate the affordable housing application process and help them secure housing stability and affordability,” said Ricardo Martínez Campos, Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants. “I commend HPD for making a more robust and inclusive Housing Ambassadors program, and thank all the organizations on the ground partnering with 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 2.0 plan for a total of 300,000 affordable 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.