FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES HOW NEW YORK CITY WILL MEET ITS AMBITIOUS AFFORDABLE HOUSING GOALS DESPITE FALLING TAX REVENUES IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, February 28, 2010
“Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
“With the economy still stalling and tax revenues still falling, many cities are cutting back on affordable housing – just when people need such housing badly. But not New York! Our Administration’s affordable housing plan is called ‘The New Housing Marketplace.’ Our long-range target has been to fund the creation or preservation of affordable housing for half a million New Yorkers by 2014. After seven years of effort, we’re right on course to do that. And in a speech last week, I described how, despite these hard times, we’re going to meet our goals in full over the next four years.
“A key part of our strategy will be persuading building developers and owners to make long-term affordability commitments on their apartments. When the market was hot and the sky appeared to be the limit on rents, that wasn’t easy. But in today’s economy, incentives that our City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development can offer in exchange for affordability commitments – for example, low-cost loans for rehabilitating buildings and refinancing mortgages – look a lot more attractive. And we’re going to use such incentives to lock in agreements to preserve apartments across the city as affordable for working and middle-class New Yorkers.
“We’re also mounting the most aggressive efforts of any city in the nation to prevent housing foreclosures. That includes moving aggressively to protect apartments at risk of neglect by owners who now find themselves in over their heads financially. With City Council Speaker Christine Quinn we have, for example, created a program to convert stalled condo projects into affordable apartments. We’re also committing $750 million to provide low-cost refinancing and repair loans for apartment buildings where foreclosure threatens to cause deterioration and disrepair. After all, it’s not right for tenants to suffer because of business decisions they had no part in making.
“We can pay for these new initiatives – and still continue to fund affordable housing construction across the city – because despite the recession, New York City’s housing finances have stayed in A-number-one condition. That’s thanks to the outstanding work of a little-known but very important City agency: our Housing Development Corporation, the best, and biggest, public financer of affordable housing in the nation today. To meet our housing goals by 2014, we’ll have to pump an additional $1 billion into our efforts. And because of the prudent and productive management of our housing finances, I’m glad to say that we can do that without using additional, and scarce, City tax dollars.
“That’s good news for all New Yorkers. And so is this. The New York City Housing Authority is working to obtain roughly $100 million a year in Federal funds to upgrade and maintain about 18,000 public housing apartments. Because they’re in developments built with local money, they’ve never received Federal support before. But now NYCHA has come up with a way to make that happen. And last week, that effort got a big boost when the State Legislature passed the necessary bill supporting NYCHA’s plan. It’s one more way we’re making sure all New Yorkers have the good, affordable homes they need.
“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening.”
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
Listen to the radio address