Mayor Touts Progress in Affordable Housing Plan

January 15, 2015 Updated: January 15, 2015

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, who plans to make his affordable housing plan a centerpiece of this year’s agenda, announced Thursday that the program has taken an important first step toward meeting its ambitious goal.

De Blasio said that the city financed the creation and preservation of more than 17,300 affordable housing units last year, enough to house nearly 42,000 people. The city had originally projected developing 16,000 units for 2014, de Blasio’s first year in office.

“There is a desperate need for housing in this city,” de Blasio said. “Every time you can build a unit or preserve a unit, one more family is stable.”

“There is a desperate need for housing in this city.”
— NY Mayor Bill de Blasio

The mayor, who launched his housing plan in May, set out a goal of saving or creating 200,000 affordable units over 10 years, a goal that would eclipse the number of housing units developed by his immediate predecessors. If successful, the program would develop housing for more than 500,000 people—more than live in the cities of Atlanta, Miami, or New Orleans.

Housing costs are exorbitant in much of the city, and for most New Yorkers their monthly housing payment—whether rent or a mortgage—is their largest monthly expense, de Blasio said. The mayor linked the plan—which his aides have said will play a bigger role in his agenda this year than in 2014—to his campaign promise to combat the city’s income inequality problem.

“We’re taking dead aim at the No. 1 expense in people’s lives, which is housing,” said the mayor. “If you can address that, you can really make a difference in the core problem of income inequality.”

Of the 17,000 units, about 6,190 are new. The rest were preserved.

Flanked by other Democratic officials, De Blasio held Thursday’s press conference at a low-income Brooklyn cooperative building that’s home to 159 families making less than $60,000 per year for a family of four.

Last month, the city invested $3.1 million in capital funding in the building, which will ensure that the building will remain affordable for the next 30 years, officials said.

From The Associated Press