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PR- 067-05
February 16, 2005


City Leads the Nation in Managing, Developing, Preserving and Financing Affordable Housing

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced today the completed construction of a first-ever $12 million housing development for seniors with special needs and a $9.5 million refinanced mortgage generating nearly $3 million in savings to be used for the refurbishment and modernization of senior housing constructed two decades ago.  Mayor Bloomberg also reiterated that the City will continue to spur and promote homeownership through public/private financing after visiting with tenants and homeowners at three locations in two Boroughs.  Each of the three stops made by Mayor Bloomberg exemplifies the various ways New York City leads the nation in affordable housing and preservation for elderly, low and middle-income New Yorkers.  Mayor Bloomberg visited homeowners in Harlem, housing for seniors and their grandchildren in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, and seniors living in housing in Manhattan's Inwood section. Mayor Bloomberg was joined by New York City Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Shaun Donovan, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chairman Tino Hernandez, and Housing Development Corporation (HDC) President Emily Youssouf.

"New York City is the nation's largest and most diverse City, so meeting the housing needs of all New Yorkers is not a one size fits all proposition," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "It is a complex undertaking that requires a wide variety of specialized solutions.   No other City does as good a job as New York in crafting creative policies for building and preserving affordable housing for our citizens.  Today, we've traveled to three separate communities to look at three distinct examples that spotlight our approach to building and preserving affordable housing in New York City.  It's an entrepreneurial model that combines the best features of public and private financing and development capabilities, calibrated to suit people of various ages, income brackets, family sizes, and social needs."

At 68 East 119th Street in East Harlem, the Mayor was greeted by homeowners living in four different town home developments constructed between 1999 and 2004 in the Federally - designated Mt. Morris Homeownership Zone.  121 affordable two - and three-family homes were developed through the New Homes Program jointly operated by HPD and the Housing Partnership Development Corporation.  New York City is the first of the 11 cities nationwide-awarded Federal Homeownership Zone funds to complete development of its homeownership zone. 

"New York is a City of neighborhoods, and affordable townhouses have given hundreds of families the opportunity to be homeowners and to build their futures in Harlem," said Housing Commissioner Shaun Donovan.  "Enabling families to buy homes in New York City is key to Mayor Bloomberg's housing plan, and we've been able to drive down the purchase prices through public/private partnerships that leverage government funds."

At 951 Prospect Avenue in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, Mayor Bloomberg toured the $12 million, first-ever, housing facility in the United States constructed to meet the special needs of grandparents or elderly caregivers who care for grandchildren or other relatives.  The make-up of each soon-to-be family is expected to include one elderly person and at least one minor-aged relative.  The minimum size of a family is estimated to number two and probably not more than three with a median income of $25,100.  Each apartment will rent between approximately $300 and $350.  NYCHA expects the first families to move in over the next few months.  The six-story building consists of 50, two and three bedroom apartments, which are being rented exclusively to households with generation-skipping family compositions. The Grandparent Apartments also contain 5,760 square feet of space for community and supportive services programs; 6,051 square feet of retail and office space with 12 parking spaces, and a landscaped courtyard.  Construction started in September 2003 and was completed this month.  NYCHA collaborated with two not-for-profit organizations, Presbyterian Senior Services (PSS) and West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing, Inc. (WSFSSH), to establish this unique form of housing.  NYCHA provided the land and will contribute a public housing subsidy which will keep the rents affordable.  Additional funding was provided by New York State and private sources.

"This is a really exciting step for the Housing Authority," said NYCHA Chairman Tino Hernandez.  "It not only meets the special needs of a very special population, our seniors, but demonstrates how we can make better use of our land, our relationship with other government agencies and our ability to form partnerships with the private sector."   Hernandez noted that "Over a third of NYCHA's households are headed by persons over 62 years of age.  Today we've shown that by being creative, there is a way for us to meet the unique generation-skipping housing challenges some of them face".

At Wien House at 60 Nagle Avenue in Manhattan's Inwood section, Mayor Bloomberg toured a facility which houses 100 senior citizens, and is in need of both physical repairs and improved services to allow the current and future senior residents to continue living independently.  Wein House was constructed and financed in 1990 through a loan provided through the Federal Section 202 Senior Housing Program, which was designed to spur the construction of affordable housing for low-income people aged 62 and over.  HDC has developed a financing program which offers the owners a chance to refinance the current mortgage with tax-exempt bond proceeds.  This financing qualifies the building for low-income housing tax credits.  This combination provides both an immediate savings of almost $3 million and a large upfront payment from the tax credit.  Overall, the new $9.5 million mortgage from HDC provides a long-term savings of $10 million.  At Wien House, the new financing enabled by HDC will be used to make repairs, and finance a nurse coordinator position, a tenant service coordinator to help with such things financial management, medical referrals, and supervise a breakfast program. 

"As the nation's number one issuer of housing bonds, we made a significant commitment to offer viable financial solutions to ensure that every generation of New Yorkers can live in affordable, safe, and quality housing," said HDC President Emily Youssouf.  "Our plan for Wien House, and the other 202 developments, ensures that the seniors living their twilight years are able to continue to do so comfortably, and it preserves this housing so that next generations are able to benefit as well.  We look forward to continuing this commitment for years to come."


Edward Skyler/ Silvia Alvarez   (212) 788-2958

Carol Abrams   (Housing Preservation and Development)
(212) 863-5176

Howard Marder   (New York City Housing Authority)
(212) 306-3322

Tracy Paurowski (HDC)   (212) 227-9496

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