NYC Housing Goals Go Beyond 200,000 Affordable Units, Says Commissioner

March 20, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

NEW YORK—With the new administration, New York City has set some very ambitious housing goals, and those go far beyond the number of affordable housing units, says the new Housing commissioner.

“I hope we don’t get too caught up in the 200,000 number and forget a lot of other things we have to achieve,” said Vicki Been, Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner.

At the fourth annual Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development conference, March 10, Been joked that to achieve that number, she needed to preserve one unit every six hours, and was already behind. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 200,000 unit goal over the next decade includes preserving units, but that still means building or creating almost 9,000 more every year.

Still, Been said, it’s important not to forget that the city needs more market-rate housing as well. The reason market-rate housing is so expensive is because there is still such an unbalanced demand.

In the past, the department was often providing housing to one family at the expense of another similar family, Been said, and there will be changes underway to prevent such situations.

The mayor is announcing his housing reform plan on May 1, but details have not formed yet, Been said. The City is working to take advantage of the strong housing market it currently has, she said.

“We’re not just building housing, we’re building neighborhoods,” Been said. “That will be key in what we do in the next few years.”