District Council 37, the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) today launched a new housing program for DC 37 members at a reception at the union's headquarters and officially opened DC 37's new Affordable Housing Office. The first-of-its-kind program includes preferences for city-sponsored affordable homes and rental apartments, down payment assistance and homebuyer education.
DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts said, "This historic agreement helps unlock the door to affordable housing for DC 37 members who must reside in the five boroughs. For the first time, city workers will have a program to help them meet their housing requirement. The union also worked with the city to make available down-payment funds and an education program for first-time homebuyers."
HPD Commissioner Shaun Donovan said, "The Bloomberg administration is committed to increasing opportunities for affordable housing for all New Yorkers as part of the Mayor's New Housing Marketplace Plan, which uses $3 billion to fund the rehabilitation and construction of 65,000 apartments and homes over five years. We recognize that many of New York City's municipal employees are required to live within the five boroughs and can often find it difficult to obtain affordable housing. In order to address this need, the Bloomberg Administration has created a program with several components. Today we are launching DC 37's new affordable housing office, which is a wonderful way to expand valuable housing education. In addition, the City is delighted to provide down payment assistance and to extend to all municipal employees a preference for 5% of the affordable homes and apartments in city-sponsored lotteries. We look forward to working with DC 37 and all municipal employees to expand affordable housing options and continue revitalizing our city's neighborhoods."
Also attending the event were DC 37 Officers and Local Presidents; representatives of Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS); Amalgamated Bank, which is helping to fund the program; and participating lending institutions.
The innovative housing initiative for DC 37 members resulted from a letter Ms. Roberts sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg in January. The program allows DC 37 members, and all municipal workers, preference for 5% of units in city-sponsored lotteries for affordable homes and apartments, and as first-time home buyers, they could be eligible for down payment grants of up to 6% of purchase price or on average $20,000 through HPD. The program also offers homebuyer training and education covering credit, budgeting, predatory lending, home maintenance and repair through NHS.
DC 37 is the city's largest public employees union with 121,000 members and 50,000 retirees.