Developers and Cities Are Navigating the Affordable Housing Sea in a Leaky Boat – Next City

(Credit: Community Impact News)
Here’s an example form Texas which is not as complex as New York State: (Credit: Community Impact News)

Here’s an interesting piece on a topic close to home in The Bronx:  Affordable Housing.

The article skims the surface of what is a tangled web in which affordable housing developers have to navigate which is so much deeper than Next City can even get into but it does speak briefly about the Jerome Avenue Study area and other parts of New York City.

Next City says:

One developer called the competition for tax credits from New York’s Division of Housing and Community Renewal as “extremely cutthroat and competitive.” Projects are graded by the state on access to downtown and transit, green building practices, and other community benefits. Ithaca developers also get help from federal HUD grants. The article recommends the city explore an inclusionary zoning policy, following New York City’s example.

Susan Cosentini, who created a co-housing development in Ithaca, said that true economic and social diversity in housing takes effort. “Someone with 80 percent of median income around here gets you a white graduate student,” she said. “Getting real diversity is really rocket science. That’s unfortunate because that’s where you get the vibrancy. I don’t want to create affluent ghettos. That’s no fun.”

New York Might Need Even More Intervention Policies

NYU’s Furman Center released a study yesterday that questions whether even the affordable housing policies available in New York City are going to be able to create sufficient market strength in outer-borough neighborhoods where low- and moderate-income people need housing the most.

“Creating Housing Out of Thin Air” finds that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 10-year plan to create affordable units through the combination of upzoning and mandatory inclusionary zoning is likely to produce units in pricey, dense neighborhoods like Downtown Brooklyn, but in low-rent neighborhoods like East New York and the Jerome Avenue corridor in the Bronx, there is not enough demand for market-rate housing to “cross-subsidize” the affordable units the city is hoping to spur. That is, unless inclusionary zoning is combined with an additional city subsidy.

Additionally, the researchers add that the issue about where affordable housing in these neighborhoods is created (on-site vs. off-site vs. fee-in-lieu of payment) presents the city with even more difficult choices to make.

The report comes on the heels of the news last month that HUD officials began reviewing the city’s “community preference” policy of giving residents in neighborhoods targeted for development a leg-up on affordable units — seen as a way to keep locals from being displaced once the market heats up. HUD is examining whether this could lead to discrimination, because the population of neighborhoods like East New York skew more black and Hispanic than other neighborhoods in the city.

Make sure to read the full text via Developers and Cities Are Navigating the Affordable Housing Sea in a Leaky Boat – Next City.

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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.