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Recovery for All of Us: City Finances Most new Construction of Affordable Housing Ever

July 26, 2021

Record 11,322 newly constructed affordable homes secured, 64% of which will serve lowest income New Yorkers

Record-breaking number of affordable homes are for seniors and formerly homeless New Yorkers

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio joined Deputy Mayor Vicki Been, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation (HPD) and the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) today to announce that New York City secured 28,310 affordable homes through new construction and preservation deals in Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21). That figure includes a record-breaking 11,322 new affordable homes, 64% of which are affordable for families of three earning less than $53,000. The City also created nearly 3,300 units for seniors, and nearly 2,800 units formerly homeless New Yorkers – both records for this administration.

Your Home NYC, Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan, remains on track to creating and preserving 200,000 affordable homes by the end of the administration and 300,000 affordable homes by 2026.

To commemorate a milestone year, the Mayor visited Bronx Commons, a 305-unit affordable housing development that combines deeply affordable housing with a dynamic new music hall, pre-school, and other retail and recreational space. The City will also welcome tenants to their new homes at several more affordable housing developments across the Bronx as part of City Hall in Your Borough this week, including at East Clarke Place Senior Residences and Arthur Ave Senior Residences. These buildings bring a combined 548 affordable homes to the borough, some of 66,204 affordable homes created in the Bronx since 2014.

“By the end of this administration, we will reach 200,000 affordable apartments for the people of New York City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “More than ever, we will also serve seniors and formerly homeless New Yorkers. Buildings like Bronx Commons – 100 percent affordable, with 305 apartments fully leased and placemaking amenities like pre-school and a music hall – are going to make a difference for New Yorkers everywhere. There's no stopping the Bronx, and there's no stopping New York City.”

“Throughout the de Blasio administration, we have fought tirelessly to bring New Yorkers the safe, healthy, and affordable homes they deserve. In spite of the extraordinary setbacks of the past year, we exceeded our initial promise to the people of New York City and financed, preserved, and constructed more homes of quality than ever before through Your Home New York,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “This record breaking year is a testament to the perseverance, resilience, and commitment of the affordable housing champions of our city – at HPD, HDC, and our partners in development across all five boroughs.”

“The Mayor's housing plan was designed from the outset to build a more equitable, affordable, and vibrant city and has proven a critical tool to advancing this agenda in the wake of the pandemic,” said HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll. "Through this plan, we have changed the way we worked with communities to plan for the future of neighborhoods anchored by transformational affordable housing developments; introduced policies to secure more affordability in all our neighborhoods; focused on creating more homes for the most vulnerable New Yorkers, including our city's seniors, those experiencing homelessness, and the lowest-income New Yorkers; pushed to grow the number of M/WBE and nonprofit partners in our affordable housing work and deepen their financial stake in those projects; and pushed the envelope on the design of all our affordable housing to promote the health, equity, and sustainability of our city. Year-over-year, we have raised the bar on the kind of housing we build and the people we serve through Your Home NYC, leaving a legacy that will continue to change the lives of New Yorkers for generations to come.”

“As we emerge from the extraordinary challenges of the pandemic, HDC is proud to contribute critical financing to support the creation of affordable housing that is essential to New York City’s recovery,” said HDC President Eric Enderlin. “I extend my deepest gratitude to the teams at HDC and HPD for their dedication and perseverance as we continue to work together to bring greater stability and economic opportunity to New Yorkers at a time it is needed more than ever.”

Bronx Commons’ development team includes non-profit WHEDco and BFC. WHEDco also manages the cultural centerpiece of the development, the Bronx Music Hall, which will showcase the Bronx’s music history and catalyzes economic development in the community. The development also includes a 428-panel rooftop Solar PV installation, one of the largest on an affordable housing development in New York City.

The City’s housing plan focuses on projects that serve the most vulnerable New Yorkers; sets new standards for healthy, equitable homes; brings community assets to underserved neighborhoods; supports Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) and non-profits; and promotes affordable ownership opportunities that help build wealth across generations.

Focusing on Vulnerable New Yorkers
This fiscal year marked 3,299 affordable homes secured for seniors, and 2,788 homes for homeless families – both one-year records for the administration. The City also financed 1,359 supportive homes offering comprehensive services for New Yorkers in need.

To address the acute housing needs of the lowest income New Yorkers, HPD recently changed its term sheets to ensure that at least 50% of newly financed units are for families of three earning less than $53,000. This year, HPD exceeded that benchmark, with 64% new homes serving these families, and nearly 50% new homes serving families of three making less than $32,000.

Setting a High Bar for Affordable Housing Design
In March, HPD updated the Design Guidelines for its affordable housing to facilitate broadband access, increase energy efficiency, improve indoor air quality and ventilation, and increase access to cooling and outdoor space. Several FY21 projects have already adopted new recommendations to incorporate broadband access during construction, including Greenpoint Landing, which will create 373 permanently affordable homes in Brooklyn. Of these homes, 57 will be reserved for formerly homeless households, and all tenants will have access to high-speed broadband.

Strengthening Neighborhoods with Placemaking Projects
The City is strengthening neighborhoods that have experienced historic disinvestment with mixed-use, place-making projects that bring high quality affordable housing along with community assets like grocery stores, recreational space, and retail. This year, the City financed “The Eliza” which will bring a new Inwood branch of the New York Public Library along with 174 deeply affordable homes, and broke ground on Bronx Point, which brings 542 affordable homes in addition to the Universal Hip Hop Museum and a new public esplanade on the waterfront.

Prioritizing M/WBE and Non-Profit Growth
As a part of efforts to continuously advance equity in the affordable housing industry, the City enacted a number of new policies last year to expand access to financing, ownership opportunities, and capacity building for M/WBE and non-profit partners. In FY21, the City closed 10 new construction deals with M/WBE developers, eight of which were located on previously city–owned land. HPD’s M/WBE Build Up program, which requires projects receiving more than $2 million in City subsidy to spend at least a quarter on M/WBEs contracts, is expected to generate over $215 million for M/WBEs across 53 applicable projects that closed in FY21.

Supporting Homeownership to Help Build Wealth
The City financed 11,453 homeownership opportunities in FY21, including 11,053 Mitchell-Lama co-ops, and 149 affordable homes created through the Open Door program. Soundview Homes will provide 72 affordable co-ops across 10 four-story townhouses on NYCHA’s Soundview campus in the Bronx. Rochester Suydam, the City’s first public site new construction cooperative project, will also provide 46 affordable homeownership opportunities in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The City also helped 11 small homeowners make critical repairs to their homes and help keep long-standing residents in their homes and communities over the long term under the new Homefix program launched this year.

Notable Projects Financed in FY 2021

  • Casa Celina and Atrium are two affordable 100% senior housing projects that will be built on NYCHA land as a part of the City’s Seniors First initiative, bringing 204 affordable homes to the Bronx’s Soundview neighborhood and 189 affordable homes in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood, respectively. Thirty percent of the homes are set aside for formerly homeless seniors and the rest will be affordable for households earning at or below 50% of Area Median Income. Developed by M/WBE and non-profit partners, the projects will include fitness, outdoor, and community space as well as supportive services for residents and the community.
  • Sendero Verde is a two-phase, mixed-use development that combines deep affordability with a school, community and social services, retail, and open space related to the East Harlem rezoning and complying with the City’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program. With the first phase under construction, and phase two now financed, Sendero Verde promises more than 700 units of affordable housing, and approximately 320 will serve families earning up to 50% of AMI, which for a family of three means earning less than $53,000. All residents will have access to high-speed broadband. When complete, Sendero Verde will be one of the largest Passive House developments in the country, a nationally recognized design and building standard for optimal energy efficiency.
  • Riverbend is 626-unit Mitchell-Lama co-op that serves as a valuable affordable homeownership for low-to middle-income New Yorkers. HPD and HDC provided nearly $43 million this fiscal year to fund critical façade work and solar power systems, as well as to refinance existing high interest debt. The solar work is projected to save $168,650 per year in electricity expenses, and the new agreement requires these affordable homes to remain in the Mitchell-Lama program through 2056. Riverbend previously received financing from the City for concrete work and was counted in the City’s housing plan in 2014. It represents the more than 3,600 homes this year and more than 15,000 homes since 2014 that continue to receive City assistance that are not reflected in the City’s yearly numbers.
  • Atlantic Chestnut is a multi-phase development in East New York that will create approximately 1,167 affordable homes when complete. Spanning 4.5 acres, this is the largest affordable housing development on a private site to be initiated in the East New York rezoning area and will also promote commercial development, invest in open spaces, and create safer streets. Led by a non-profit developer, Phase 1 closed in June 2021 and will include 403 deeply affordable apartments and sustainable features like solar panels, a Cogen system and 99 units of permanently affordable Mandatory Inclusionary Housing.
  • Rochdale Village is a Mitchell-Lama made up of 5,860 affordable co-ops in Queens. The City provided $3,780,000 in financing for façade and balcony repairs that will lock in affordability until 2051. This development has also received funds from NYC and Department of Aging, Parks and Recreation, Social Services, and Youth & Community Development to support playground renovation, as well as youth and senior programming.

Since 2014, the City has leveraged $7.9 billion in city capital subsidy to drive $43.3 billion in investments for New York City’s five boroughs. With 194,480 units financed since 2014, the City is on track to meet its nation-leading Your Home NYC goal to build and preserve 300,000 affordable homes for New Yorkers by 2026. A complete summary of FY21 numbers is available here.

“The pandemic placed an unprecedented financial burden on many thousands of already struggling New Yorkers, which only made the need to create and preserve affordable housing units more critical than ever before,” said Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz, Chair of the Assembly Housing Committee. “I commend the City for making progress in its commitment to our most vulnerable residents and for demonstrating that the construction of affordable housing can be a meaningful part of our post-pandemic recovery process.”

"Even while facing the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021, New York City secured 28,310 affordable homes. This is an impressive accomplishment. As Chair of the Commission on MWBEs, I am delighted by the newly expanded access to financing, ownership opportunities, and capacity building for minority- and women-owned businesses. Minority neighborhoods need small businesses owned by and responsive to their communities, so I also want to praise the Placemaking Projects which provide amenities that all neighborhoods deserve," said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr.

“As we emerge from this pandemic, our City must continue to secure affordable homes for all New Yorkers, especially low-income families, seniors, and those experiencing homelessness,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “I am heartened by the great progress achieved by this administration through construction and preservation deals, including the financing for façade and balcony repairs at Rochdale Village. I look forward to seeing even more affordable housing created and preserved so all New Yorkers can afford to stay in the City they call home.”

“Despite the many challenges we face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am grateful to hear the announcement of record-breaking developments of new construction in affordable housing. I am especially happy that Sendero Verde in East Harlem  is one of the 28,310 City Financed projects,” said Council Member Diana Ayala. “The Sendero Verde mixed-use development will include over 700 units of affordable housing, a public school, community and social services, retail, and open space related to the East Harlem rezoning. I want to thank Mayor Bill De Blasio, HPD Commissioner Louise Carrol and HDC Eric Enderlin for their stewardship and dedication for advancing equity and affordability”.

"This is one important step to address the housing crisis that New Yorkers have been facing for far too long. Bringing thousands of homes to Queens and throughout New York City is about making this city a place that protects its families and seniors, supports people without housing or formerly homeless, and promotes healthier and financially sustainable communities. I look forward to building on this work so that New Yorkers have a real opportunity to thrive in the city they call home," said Council Member Francisco Moya, Chair of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises.

"If it weren't already clear that housing is a human right integral to public health, the past year has undeniably made it so. As we continue to pursue an equitable pandemic recovery, I applaud the administration on this record-breaking year for new construction on affordable homes," said Council Member Carlina Rivera. "I look forward to continuing to break records in affordable housing development, until we are able to offer safe, secure and accessible homes to all New Yorkers who seek them."

“Bronx Commons embodies WHEDco’s philosophy that buildings should serve whole neighborhoods, in addition to those lucky enough to win housing lotteries. Throughout this mixed-use development are critical resources for health and wellness, arts and culture, education, small business support, and environmental sustainability, creating a community anchor that helps both tenants and neighbors to thrive. We are grateful for Mayor de Blasio and HPD's commitment to working with nonprofits like WHEDco on high-quality homes that change lives and communities,” said Nancy Biberman, WHEDco Founder and President Emerita.

“The Bronx Commons will not only be an indispensable addition to the community but an example of how important and powerful city and private collaborations can be, especially as we are right in the middle of pandemic recovery,” said Donald Capoccia, Principal of BFC Partners. “Our hope is that the Bronx Commons becomes a model for affordable mixed-use developments in the City and serves as a haven for residents who have been most affected by the pandemic.”

“While we have all experienced the same storm over the past year, the pandemic has shown us that we are not all in the same boat,” said Karen Haycox, CEO of Habitat for Humanity New York City and Westchester County. “Safe, stable, and healthy housing has shown itself to be of critical importance and we are proud to celebrate the most homes sold in one year in our history. Virtually cutting the ribbon on Sydney House, the world’s largest single-structure Habitat for Humanity residence and the first affordable cooperative constructed through HPD’s Open Door program, shows what we can accomplish together when we prioritize affordable housing and access to equity-building through homeownership amidst a sea of challenges and exposed inequalities.”

“At a time of pressing need, NYC 15/15, the Mayor’s ambitious plan to develop 15,000 units of supportive housing in 15 years was able to successfully finance 1,359 units, which is the second highest amount since the beginning of the Mayor’s housing plan,” said Laura Mascuch, Executive Director of the Supportive Housing Network of New York. “We would like to congratulate Commissioner Carroll and thank the incredible staff of HPD and HDC for their work in achieving this during these very challenging times.”

“We congratulate the Mayor and the City on its record-breaking creation of affordable housing, particularly homeownership opportunities for working New Yorkers,” said Christie Peale, CEO/Executive Director of the Center for NYC Neighborhoods. “We are proud to partner with HPD on transformative projects to preserve and protect affordable homeownership throughout the city.”

“As New York City recovers from the pandemic, Enterprise is proud to have worked with government partners, CBOs, BIPOC-led developers and other key stakeholders to ensure that the local affordable housing stock will meet the needs of the most impacted New Yorkers,” said Victoria Rowe-Barreca, director of capital solutions and partnerships, Enterprise Community Partners. “I want to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio, Deputy Mayor Vicki Been, HPD, and HDC for rising to the housing challenges magnified by the unprecedented COVID crisis. The record 11,322 newly constructed affordable homes being built in Fiscal Year 2021 are a testament to what can be accomplished when multi-sector partnerships come together grounded by mission and propelled by urgency, to put our local communities first.”

“Systemic inequities, such as lack of equal access to capital and opportunities, hamper minority and nonprofit developers ability to fully participate in the development activities. We commend the Mayor and the NYC Housing and Preservation Development (HPD) for recognizing these inequities and the critical need to give these firms the space and resources they need to play a central role in the development and preservation of the city’s affordable housing stock. We are proud to partner with the City, HPD, and numerous other public and private entities to develop a blueprint on how to expand the presence of nonprofit and minority-developers in the affordable housing industry in NYC,” said Valerie White, executive director of LISC NYC.

“Despite the continued challenges brought on by the pandemic, New York City continues to meet and exceed its ambitious affordable housing goals and deliver thousands of affordable units for those who need it most, including seniors and formerly homeless New Yorkers,” said Chris Widelo, director of external affairs for the New York State Association for Affordable Housing. “We congratulate the de Blasio administration and the many thousands of workers across the five boroughs who made this possible. The next step is to ensure that we continue to utilize every resource and tool at our disposal to address the housing shortage at the root of this very real crisis.”


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