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Mayor de Blasio Launches New Affordable Housing Programs, Raises Goal To 300,000 Units

Mayor de Blasio Launches New Affordable Housing Programs, Raises Goal To 300,000 Units
Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking at a press conference for the Office of the Public Advocate for the City of New York

Mayor Bill de Blasio is feeling good about his progress in affordable housing, but he has no plans to slow down.

Speaking at a subsidized, affordable development in Brooklyn, de Blasio announced that he anticipates meeting his stated goal of creating or preserving 200,000 affordable units in the city by 2022, two years ahead of his initial schedule, Crain's New York Business reports. He also estimated reaching 300,000 units by 2026, five years after term limits would force him out of office should he be re-elected in November.

But the announcement was not just to gloat. The mayor also debuted two new programs meant to subsidize developers and owners who eschew purely profit-driven thinking. The first is a $275M reserve fund earmarked for nonprofit groups deemed "neighborhood pillars" to purchase and preserve affordable developments.

"We want nonprofit organizations to be the ones to get these buildings. We know they'll take care of them right," de Blasio said. "The nonprofits, they know what they're doing, their intentions are the right ones, they know the community, they only lack one thing: money."

The announcement comes on the heels of a letter signed by several nonprofit groups demanding that de Blasio fire Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen on the basis that she favored for-profit developers at the cost of those in more dire need of affordability.

The mayor's office predicts that the program will save 7,500 affordable homes over the next eight years. The $275M will come from a combination of public and private money, with the private portion financed largely by the New York City Acquisition Fund, a group led by Enterprise Community Partners, nonprofit lender Local Initiatives Support Group and various banks and financial institutions.

The second initiative announced on Tuesday is an assistance program for landlords of rent-regulated apartments. Glen said the program, which has already been initiated, "will provide [landlords] with incentives, and allow them to extend those buildings into rent regulation, even though they might naturally be coming out of rent stabilization."