HPD Commissioner Shaun Donovan today announced that HPD’s Division of Anti-Abandonment (DAA) will be renamed the Division of Neighborhood Preservation (DNP). The name change recognizes the dramatic progress made over the last decade in breaking the cycle of abandonment in neighborhoods throughout the city and focuses instead on today’s challenge: the proactive preservation of the City’s housing stock and continued improvement in neighborhood conditions.
Commissioner Donovan said, “The housing challenge we face in New York City is no longer abandonment. It is now affordability. HPD has successfully turned around entire neighborhoods by using once abandoned buildings and vacant lots to create affordable housing. We are continuing and strengthening our work to preserve affordable housing and quality neighborhoods and ensure that every New Yorker lives in a safe and secure home. Our newly renamed Division of Neighborhood Preservation is at the forefront of these efforts, which support Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to build or preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing over ten years, the largest municipal affordable housing plan in the nation’s history.”
U.S. Census data shows HPD’s success in improving neighborhoods. The Housing and Vacancy Survey (HVS) is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau every three years. For 27 years the HVS has covered neighborhood satisfaction, and the 2005 report showed that neighborhood satisfaction is the best ever recorded. The proportion of renter households near buildings with broken or boarded-up windows on the same street was a mere 6.3 percent in 2005, a 2.4-percentage point improvement from 2002, and the best in the 27-year period since 1978, when the HVS started to measure neighborhood conditions. In 1978 the proportion of renter households near buildings with broken or boarded-up windows on the same street was 25.4 percent and in 1987 it was 17.3 percent The proportion of renter households that rated the quality of their neighborhood residential structures as “good” or “excellent” was 71.3 percent in 2005, a 2.2-percentage point improvement from 2002 and the best in the 27-year period, since the HVS began to measure household opinion of neighborhood quality in 1978. In 1978 the rating of “good” or “excellent” was 56.2 percent and in 1987 it was 63.1 percent.
The Division of Neighborhood Preservation is part of the agency’s Office of Preservation Services and integrates several preservation strategies to restore at-risk privately-owned buildings to a viable status. These strategies include the assessment of physical and financial needs of distressed properties, outreach to building owners to encourage code and tax compliance, expanded education and support services for owners, referral to a variety of loan programs to facilitate owner investment in their properties, targeted code enforcement and litigation activities, and targeted in rem actions that result in the transfer of properties to qualified third parties. DNP is an important partner in new comprehensive neighborhood improvement projects such as the Bushwick Initiative and the Comprehensive Neighborhood Economic Development initiative in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
DNP is comprised of the following units:
- The staff of the Borough Offices, now to be known as the Neighborhood Services local offices, conduct site assessments of thousands of buildings each year to develop individual treatment plans for them.
- The NPC/CCC Unit oversees the Neighborhood Preservation Consultants (NPC) and Community Consultant Contracts (CCC). NPCs are not for-profit organizations that support the work of DNP by assessing buildings, arranging loan applications and Voluntary Repair Agreements, conducting workshops, and providing short, medium, and long-term interventions to assists both owners and tenants.
- The Third Party Transfer/Tax Lien Sale Unit manages HPD’s role in tax enforcement actions. These actions target buildings in tax arrears and subject to foreclosure. Extensive outreach is done to owners to help them address their tax situation and the physical problems of their buildings.
- The Owner Services Program (OSP) staff work closely with building owners to improve both the physical and financial health of their buildings. OSP is designed to collaborate closely with the borough office counselors and the Housing Litigation Division attorneys to identify owners whose problems with finances, management or tenant relations require one-on-one or small group counseling. In addition, OSP organizes HPD’s Owners Night, a monthly event that moves throughout the city and allows property owners an opportunity to get information about HPD services. Launched in February 2001, Owners’ Nights have drawn more than 8,000 property owners to events across New York City.
- The Preserve Assets and Community Equity (PACE) program was created to increase neighborhood organizational capacity to combat irresponsible lending practices and prevent mortgage foreclosures in high-risk communities throughout the city. Partners in this initiative include three non-profit organizations: South Brooklyn Legal Services, the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Group and the Parodneck Foundation. The PACE program partners, in collaboration with private sector support, are building a citywide network of organizations capable of assessing homeowners’ complicated financial and legal situations, and providing early intervention, followed by the provision of counseling and referrals for appropriate legal and financial assistance.
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development's (HPD) mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers. The department is the nation’s largest municipal housing development agency and is implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing over ten years. The New Housing Marketplace Plan is the largest municipal affordable housing effort in the nation’s history. HPD also encourages the preservation of affordable housing through education, outreach, loan programs and enforcement of housing quality standards.