Breaking Records for Affordable Housing
In January, we announced that we created and preserved a record 34,160 affordable homes in the previous year, bringing us even closer to our goal of 300,000 affordable homes for New Yorkers by 2026.
“Family by family, building by building, we’re giving people the security of knowing they can stay in the city they love.”
- Mayor Bill de Blasio, January 16, 2019
Transforming Troubled Buildings
In February, we met Soleydi at her longtime Washington Heights apartment. She dealt with years of poor maintenance and negligent management until HPD intervened with the Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP). The program provides enhanced oversight in order to correct severe housing quality and safety conditions for tenants.
“That’s when everything started changing. They started fixing everything in the apartment. It makes me feel secure, and I feel even more comfortable bringing my friends over, because now everything is renovated — the walls are better, even the ceiling, downstairs is so nice to see.”
An eyesore no more! In March, we demolished the long-neglected Far Rockaway Shopping Center, a significant first step toward constructing Rockaway Village, a dynamic, mixed-use development with 1,700 affordable homes. This is just one part of the City’s broader investment plan for the neighborhood, which includes affordable housing, upgraded infrastructure, public plazas, playgrounds, and much more.
Leveraging New Techniques
Coming soon to East New York: modular affordable housing constructed right here in Brooklyn. In April, we announced plans for 167 affordable homes and a new community medical center that will be constructed using cutting edge modular design. Modular construction is the next frontier in housing — building higher quality homes faster, and at a lower cost.
Standing with Tenants
As the State passed new legislation to better protect renters, we were proud to support tenants suffering from poor building conditions and negligent building management. In March, we went to federal court with the Attorney General to stop the illegal eviction of rent-stabilized tenants in the East Village. And in August, we joined tenants in Greenpoint, Brooklyn as they petitioned to have a court-appointed Administrator take over their building after years of neglect.
Transitions in Leadership
“The work that we do in affordable housing has never been a marathon or a sprint. It has always been and will continue to always be a relay.”
- Maria Torres-Springer
In March, we bid farewell to Commissioner Maria Torres Springer, who led HPD for two years, and in May, we welcomed Louise Carroll back to the agency to serve as Commissioner.
“I am going to fight to ensure New Yorkers can afford to live and thrive in this City. Fighting means cutting through red-tape, rejecting business as usual, and enacting policies that focus on the everyday lives of tenants.”
- HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll
Securing Affordability for Future Generations
In July, we secured a landmark deal to convert several former-Mitchell Lama buildings, including The Heritage (pictured above), back to affordable apartments for low-income New Yorkers. As a result, over 1800 market-rate homes will become affordable and rent-regulated for future generations of New Yorkers. It’s just one example of our tireless work to keep our existing housing stock affordable.
Helping New Yorkers Thrive
We helped the Ali Forney Center and Cooper Square Committee transform an abandoned East Village building into a supportive, transitional home for at-risk LGBTQ youth like Theo, who says their new home is an oasis of stability and support.
“I’m really grateful for the home style of it. To know that there’s other people that have similar struggles or similar thoughts to me is really affirming.”
How do you create affordable housing on small, oddly-shaped lots? We took an unorthodox approach to this tricky question by holding an international design competition with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York Chapter. The Big Ideas for Small Lots competition ultimately received over 400 entries from 36 countries. From this pool, we selected five winning proposals, which were exhibited at the Center for Architecture from August to November. Now, we’re working with the finalists to make their ideas a reality.
Putting Seniors First
This past fiscal year, we secured more affordable senior homes than ever before. This makes a world of difference for vulnerable seniors like Trevor. A proud veteran, he found a home at the newly-built 1880 Boston Road in May after experiencing homelessness. He especially appreciates the support and respect that staff show to residents.
“They’re helping people out inside of this place. The way they talk to you and everything, like they know you for twenty, thirty years!”
Bringing Zombie Homes Back to Life
We’ve all seen them: empty buildings left in terrible condition by those responsible for them. Vestiges of the financial crisis, zombie homes threaten the safety and security of our communities and bring down property values in our neighborhoods. But this year, we teamed up with the Center for NYC Neighborhoods to hold mortgage holders accountable and design new ways to return these abandoned homes to productive use.
Getting Ahead of Lead
Lead exposure is preventable, and no child should be endangered because the proper steps weren’t taken to keep them safe. That’s why we launched a LeadFreeNYC campaign in November to educate property owners of their responsibilities to identify and safely fix lead-based paint hazards in their buildings. We will continue to hold owners accountable and work proactively with the interagency coalition LeadFreeNYC until lead exposure in our city is at zero.
Renewing Historical Buildings to Serve Community Needs
In December, we joined project partners to begin redevelopment of the historic Bedford Union Armory in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Constructed in 1895, the Armory has long been envisioned by local leaders as a vibrant community gathering space, and now that vision will become reality: the renewed Armory will contain educational and recreational facilities, affordable space for local non-profits, and hundreds of new affordable homes.
The Bedford Union Armory project exemplifies our commitment to making New York City a more equitable place today and for generations to come, and we can’t wait to continue this work in 2020.
Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!