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  February 20, 2005

A City of Opportunity Means a City of Affordable Housing

By Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

Let me tell you about three New Yorkers I met this week—and also tell you about how our Administration is improving their quality of life by building and preserving comfortable and affordable housing in their home communities.

Lydia Roseboro is a retired hospital worker. She has lived in Harlem for more than 30 years. Even though Harlem has become one of the hottest real estate markets in the city, she recently fulfilled a lifelong dream of buying her own home right there, in the neighborhood she loves. It’s in a townhouse development on formerly vacant City-owned land, and a partnership between government and private lenders helped keep the sale price of the townhouses within her means. Lydia always wanted a home with a garden; now she’s got one. It also has the spare bedrooms that are just right for sleepovers by her grandchildren. She couldn’t be prouder or happier.

Dorothy Jenkins lives in public housing in the South Bronx, and because of her daughter’s untimely early death, her two young grandchildren live with her. Bringing them up is quite a challenge for someone who is in her early 60s—and, unfortunately, tens of thousands of other New Yorkers face that challenge, too. But the New York City Housing Authority is doing something about it. With the help of two non-profit groups, they’ve developed a 50-unit building that Dorothy and her family are about to move in to. It will have on-site social services for older residents, as well as recreation rooms, a summer camp, a playground, and other facilities for their grandchildren. It’s the first public housing development in the nation specifically designed to meet the needs of families like Dorothy’s—and our Administration is very hopeful that it will become a model here and in cities across the nation.

We all have an interest in helping older New Yorkers enjoy the dignity and satisfaction that comes with independent living. Take David Diamondstein. He’ll be 100 years old later this year, and he still does his own shopping, and runs his own errands in his home neighborhood of Inwood. David lives in a building run by a non-profit agency—and the building needs repairs. Our Administration has come up with a way to pay for them by using tax-exempt bonds to refinance the building’s mortgage. Now, David and his neighbors are getting new kitchens, elevators, intercom systems, and other very welcome renovations.

We constantly hear and read stories about the astronomical price of New York City housing. That’s a sure sign of our growing economy. But it’s also a mixed blessing, because it puts a squeeze on tight family housing budgets. That’s why our Administration is helping Lydia, Dorothy, David, and thousands and thousands of other New Yorkers who have a wide range of incomes, family sizes, and social needs find affordable housing. It’s one of the ways we’re making New York a City of Opportunity for all—and you can see the results all over town.