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New NYC housing plan targets ‘crisis of affordability’

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De Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to reveal his 10-year plan for affordable housing in New York City on Monday, May 5, 2014.

NEW YORK (AP) — New Yorkers heard Monday how Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to achieve a bold goal: building or preserving 200,000 affordable homes over the next 10 years.

De Blasio released his plan Monday.

“We have a crisis of affordability on our hands. It touches everyone from the bottom of the economic ladder, all the way up to the middle class. And so we are marshaling every corner of government and the private sector in an unprecedented response,” the mayor said.

The 115-page plan outlines more than 50 initiatives, including:

  • Implementing mandatory inclusionary zoning, which would require any new housing to permanently dedicate a portion of the residences be affordable to low- or moderate-income households;
  • Building thousands of new housing units on hundreds of vacant sites across the city;
  • Expanding affordable and supportive housing for seniors;
  • Requiring developers to include affordable units in exchange for energy-efficient retrofits on their buildings;
  • Shifting a portion of the city’s funds from homeless shelters to finance lower-cost permanent housing for transients and their families;
  • Doubling the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s annual budget to more than $2.5 billion over five years.

The city’s median rent rose 11 percent between 2005 and 2012 to $1,216, while renters’ median household income rose about 2 percent, to about $41,000, according to New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy.

The Democrat campaigned last year on helping middle-class and poor New Yorkers, and housing costs have crystallized the squeeze they face.