Housing and the Affordability Crisis in NY | CUNY Forum

Housing and the Affordability Crisis in NY | CUNY Forum


♪♪>>GOOD EVENING. MY NAME IS BOB
LIFF, AND THIS IS THE CUNY FORUM
THAT BRINGS FACULTY AND
STUDENTS INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
IN GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS. WHEN BILL DE
BLASIO DEDICATED HIS MAYORAL TO
TACKLING INEQUALITY IN THE
CITY, THE CENTERPIECE WAS TO
CREATE AND PRESERVE 200,000
UNITS OF HOUSING AFFORDABLE TO POOR
AND WORKING FAMILIES WHO ARE
BEING PRICED OUT OF THEIR
GENTRIFYING NEIGHBORHOODS AND
TO SOME DEGREE THE CITY ITSELF. IT HASEKCOS OF ED
KOCH’S COMMITMENT FROM THE ’80s TO
CREATE 160,000 UNITS OF
AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR A CITY THAT
WAS EMERGING FROM THE GREATEST
FISCAL CRISIS IT HAD EVER
EXPERIENCED, ONE WHERE CONSTRUCTION
HAD VIRTUALLY STOPPED, BUT KOCH
HAD ONE ADVANTAGE THAT DE BLASIO
DOES NOT HAVE. THE FISCAL CRISIS
WAS MARKED BY A DISINVESTMENT THAT
INCLUDED AN ARSON EPIDEMIC THAT LEFT
HUGE SWATHS OF THE CITY VACANT. THAT MEANS THE
LAND WHICH THE CITY HAD TAKEN FOR
NONPAYMENT OF REAL ESTATE TAXES WAS
FREE. DE BLASIO HAS NO
SUCH ADVANTAGE AND HAS ADVISED A
MULTIFACETED PROGRAM THAT
REQUIRE HE MAKE A DEAL WITH THE
DEVIL AS MANY OF HIS ALLIES SAY,
REQUIRING THAT DEVELOPERS SET
ASIDE 25%. BUT HIS
PROGRESSIVE ALLIES HAVE BECOME
CRITICS, ASKING AFFORDABLE FOR
WHOM? SETTING THE
AFFORDABILITY LEVEL AT 60% OF
AMI WHICH IS THE AREA MEDIAN INCOME
WHICH IS ACTUALLY A MEASURE OF
INCOME FOR THE BROADER
METROPOLITAN NEIGHBORHOOD. IT MAKES THOSE
APARTMENTS OUT OF REACH FOR MANY
CURRENT RESIDENTS WHOSE INCOMES ARE
LOWER. ARE THE CRITICS
RIGHT, OR ARE THEY MAKING THE PERFECT
THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD? AT THE SAME TIME,
ONE OF THE TAX INCENTIVES
DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE
DEVELOPERS OF RENTAL PROPERTY TO
INCLUDE AFFORDABLE UNITS HAS EXPIRED
AND NEGOTIATIONS IN ALBANY OVER ITS
RENEWAL HAVE STALLED OVER
WHETHER TO REQUIRE THAT THE PROJECTS
BE BUILT WITH UNION LABOR WHICH
IS FAR MORE EXPENSIVE THAN
ALLOWING A GENERAL CONTRACTOR TO
SUBCONTRACT A UNION FOR NONUNION
TRADES DEPENDING ON THE BEST DEAL
HE OR SHE CAN SIGN. THE FAILURE TO
REACH A NEW DEAL ALREADY SHOWS UP
IN DEEP DECLINES IN APPLICATIONS
FOR NEW AND AFFORDABLE
CONSTRUCTION AS THEY CLAIM THEY
CANNOT CARRY TOO MANY UNITS WITHOUT
THE TAX ABATEMENT THAT WENT WITH THE
421A PROGRAM. THEN THERE WAS THE
NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
WHICH MANAGES 200,000 UNITS OF
AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR 600,000
RESIDENTS AND WHERE I GREW UP IN
EAST NEW YORK. WITH SHORTFALLS IN
FEDERAL AND STATE AID AND FAR TOO
MANY OF THESE DEVELOPMENTS ARE
FALLING INTO DISARRAY AND
PROPOSALS TO BUILD AFFORDABLE UNITS
ON UNDERUTILIZED LAND IS MET WITH
LOUD PROTESTS THAT THE CITY IS
THREATENING TO GENTRIFY SOME OF
THE LAST VESTIGES OF DEDICATED
AFFORDABILITY. WE’RE JOINED BY
FOUR NEW YORKERS WHO TAKE PART IN
THE DEBATE. RICHIE TORRES IS A
CITY COUNCIL MEMBER FROM THE
BRONX WHO CHAIRS THE PUBLIC ON
PUBLIC HOUSING. FELLICE OPERATES
BROOKLYN CITY, NOW AS DEPUTY CITY
HOUSING COMMISSION UNDER MAYOR KOCH
AND COMMISSIONER UNDER MAYOR
DENKIN. MEREDITH IS A
DEVELOPER OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING
AROUND THE CITY AND JOHN KRIN SKI
IS A PROFESSIONAL OF POLITICAL
SCIENCE AT CITY COLLEGE. COUNCILMAN, LET ME
START WITH YOU. TODAY ON THE DAY
THIS IS BEING TAPED, THE CITY
PLANNING COMMISSION ADOPTED
THE FIRST REZONING CONNECTED WITH THE
MAYOR’S PLAN FOR — FOR
INCLUSIONARY HOUSING IN EAST
NEW YORK. IT’S A VERY
CONTROVERSIAL PROGRAM. ARE YOU SURPRISED
IT WAS APPROVED? ARE YOU — YOU
KNOW, ARE YOU PREPARED TO
EMBRACE IT OR NOT?>>WELL, NO
SURPRISES BECAUSE CITY PLANNING
COMMISSION IS PRIMARILY MERELY
APPOINTEES. NO SURPRISE THAT
THEY WOULD APPROVE A MAYORAL PLAN. BUT I THINK THE
RESISTANCE WE’VE SEEN AT LEAST IN
NEW YORK — >>WELL, IT
MIRRORS WHAT HAPPENS ELSEWHERE.>>RIGHT. EVEN THOUGH THE
PURPOSE OF MANDATORY
INCLUSIONARY HOUSING IS TO
ALLEVIATE GENTRIFICATION,
THE PERCEPTION AMONG RESIDENTS IN
EAST NEW YORK AND ELSEWHERE IN THE
CITY IS THAT IT WILL ACTUALLY
PAUSE IT. THERE’S BEEN FUND
MEANT — >>BECAUSE THE
INCOMES ARE LOWER THAN THE INCOME
THAT’S BEING SET?>>WHAT IS DEFINED
AS LOW INCOME IS 60% OF AMI. IT’S ABOUT $50,000
A YEAR. $50,000 IS DOUBLE
THE MEDIAN INCOME IN EAST NEW YORK. AND SO THERE ARE
MANY PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THAT
THERE’S NO STATE IN THE MAYOR’S
PLANS FOR THEM. THE REALITY IS
MORE COMPLICATED. IT’S NOT AS IF THE
MAYOR’S WOEFULLY DENYING FORCED NEW
YORKERS HOUSING. HE’S CONSTRAINED
BY THE ECONOMICS OF AFFORDABLE
HOUSING, AND HE’S ALSO CONSTRAINED
BY THE LAW. THERE ARE ONLY SO
MANY REQUIREMENTS THAT WE CAN IMPOSE
WITHOUT VIOLATING A FEDERAL LAW WITH
THE FIFTH AMENDMENT OF THE
CONSTITUTION.>>MEREDITH, YOU
HAVE STUDIED, YOU KNOW, AS YOU
PREPARE TO BUILD AFFORDABLE
HOUSING, YOU AND I HAVE WORKED
TOGETHER IN THE CROSSING
CONSTRUCTION PROJECT YOU’RE
UNDERTAKING IN JAMAICA WHICH
INCLUDES A LOT OF AFFORDABLE
HOUSING. THIS QUESTION OF
WHAT’S AFFORDABLE TO WHOM IS AN
INCOMPLETE ARGUMENT.>>YES. I THINK IT’S
INCOMPLETE BECAUSE IF YOU LOOK AT THE
CENSUS TRACKS IN EAST NEW YORK, AND
WE HAVE ABOUT 800 UNITS IN
CONSTRUCTION IN EAST NEW YORK, YOU
HAVE, I THINK, $33,000 IS THE
MEDIAN INCOME. BUT A LOT OF THE
LOWER INCOME, IF YOU LOOK AT, I
GUESS, THE FOUR, THE BOTTOM CORE,
SOME MAKE $8,000, $10,000 A YEAR.>>NEW YORK CITY
HOUSING AUTHORITY, RIGHT?>>RIGHT. YOU TAKE THEM OUT
OF THE EQUATION, THEN THAT WILL
RISE BECAUSE THE MEDIAN MEANS HALF
ABOVE, HALF LOVE, BELOW. YOU CALLED ME THE
DEVIL EARLIER.>>I DON’T THINK
YOU’RE THE DEVIL.>>I BUILD A LOT
OF MIXED INCOME, A LOT OF LOW-INCOME
AFFORDABLE. AND WHAT YOU FIND
IS, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE A DEARTH OF
HOUSING ON ALL LEVELS, RIGHT? AND IF YOU BUILD
TO 0% OF AMI, IF YOU LOOK AT THE
MIH, THE PLAN IS AVERAGE AT 60,
SOME AVERAGES AT 80, RIGHT? THE 421A HAS SOME
AVERAGES AT I THINK 130 OF AMI
ONLY IF THE COUNCILMEN APPROVE
THAT OR SUGGESTED THAT. BUT IF YOU BUILD A
THIRD AMI, YOU HAVE TO
PERMANENTLY SUB SIZ I’D ON AN
OPERATING BASIS THOSE UNITS
BECAUSE 0% OF AMI IS ABOUT $20,000
WHICH WE HAVE SOME IN BED-STUY, A TWO
OR THREE-BEDROOM IS $400 OR $500 A
MONTH, RIGHT? AND THE OPERATING
COST IS OVER $600 A MONTH. MORE UNITS THAN WE
DO. SO HOW DO YOU BILL
THAT? YOU CAN SUBSIDIZE
THAT. IF YOU TOLD ME I
COULD OWN THAT BUILDING FOR NO
MORTGAGE, I COULDN’T AFFORD TO
RENT THOSE UNITS TO 300. I’LL LOSE MONEY
EVERY MONTH. SO THERE HAS TO BE
A PERMANENT FIX UNLESS WE HAVE
VOUCHERS WHICH WE DON’T HAVE, HOW DO
YOU DO THAT? I THINK THERE’S AN
EDUCATION THAT’S NEEDED. AND THEN YOU GET
AROUND THE TABLE AND LOOK AT THE
NUMBERS AND IT’S JUST MATH. THESE GOOD FOLKS
CAN DO BETTER MATH THAN WE CAN. AND THE MATH
DOESN’T ADD UP AT 30% OF AMI UNLESS
YOU PROVIDE ONGOING SUBSIDIES.>>FELICE, YOU’VE
BEEN IN THESE WARS FOR A LONG TIME
GOING BACK TO THE KOCH
ADMINISTRATION AND THE 160,000 UNITS
THAT HE COMMITTED. WHEN YOU LOOK
AT — HUH?>>IT WAS 252,000.>>252,000, I’M
SORRY.>>160,000 WAS THE
ORIGINAL NUMBER AND THEN THIS WAS
REVISED TO 252,000.>>HOW DOES THAT
RELATE TO WHAT’S GOING ON NOW?>>WELL, THERE’S
SIMILARITIES, AND THERE ARE
DIFFERENCES. DIFFERENCES FROM A
PHYSICAL POINT OF VIEW. YOU MENTIONED
BEFORE THAT AT THE TIME OF THE
TEN-YEAR PLAN, THE CITY OWNED 100,000
UNITS OF HOUSING. 60,000 WERE
VACANT — >>MEANING
TAKEN — >>TAKEN BY THE
CITY FOR NONPAYMENT OF
TAXES. SO THE CITY —
>>THAT WAS BASICALLY LAND
LORDS WALKING AWAY FROM THEIR
BUILDINGS.>>CORRECT. FAILURE TO PAY
TAXES. SO 60,000 WERE
VACANT IN VACANT BUILDINGS. VACANT BUILDINGS. ANOTHER 40,000
WERE IN OCCUPIED BUILDINGS THAT THE
CITY OWNED AND MANAGED. SO THE CITY WAS
THE MANAGER OF 40,000 UNITS OF
HOUSING WITH VERY, VERY LOW-INCOME
PEOPLE. SO THAT WAS THE
FIRST THING. IN ADDITION, AT
THAT TIME BECAUSE OF DEMOLITION,
BECAUSE OF FIRES AND OTHER THINGS,
THERE WAS SIGNIFICANTLY MORE
LAND RESOURCES. SO THE CITY NOT
ONLY DID IT OWN 100,000 UNITS, BUT
THE CITY HAD AN INVENTORY OF LAND
THAT WAS AVAILABLE TO IT FOR
REDEVELOPMENT. SO THAT’S THE
FIRST ISSUE FROM A PHYSICAL POINT OF
VIEW. FROM A POLITICAL
OR POLICY POINT OF VIEW, IT’S VERY
INTERESTING BECAUSE THE
ARGUMENTS ARE VERY MUCH THE SAME. AT THE TIME OF THE
TEN-YEAR PLAN, THE TEN-YEAR PLAN WAS
CONSTRUCTED A LITTLE BIT
DIFFERENTLY THAN THE DE BLASIO
PLAN. THE TEN-YEAR PLAN
FIRST STARTED WITH A COMMITMENT BY
THE KOCH ADMINISTRATION OF
THE FUND, THE $5.1 BILLION WHICH WAS
NOT FEDERAL. AND IT WAS A
VARIETY OF CITY FUNDS FROM
DIFFERENT SOURCES, PRIMARILY THE
CAPITAL BUDGET. BUT OTHER SOURCES
AS WELL LIKE REVENUE FROM
BATTERY PARK CITY. THE SECOND — SO
FIRST ISSUE WAS WE KNEW WHAT WAS
AVAILABLE FROM A SUBSIDY POINT OF
VIEW. THE NEXT ISSUE IS,
WELL, WHAT NEEDS, OKAY, WILL THOSE
DOLLARS SERVE? AND SO THE NEXT
THING WAS TO LOOK AT VARIOUS NEEDS
IN TERMS OF INCOME. AND SO THE
DECISION AT THAT TIME WAS 87% OF
THE TEN-YEAR PLAN, THE FUNDS FOR THE
TEN-YEAR PLAN WENT TO LOW AND
MODERATE-INCOME PEOPLE, OKAY. I’LL TELL YOU WHAT
IT WAS AT THE TIME. SO 60% LOW,
FAMILIES EARNING LESS THAN $19,000. AND THE BALANCE ON
THAT SIDE ON THE 87 WAS FOR
MODERATE, WHICH IS UNDER $32,000 AND
BELOW.>>THAT WAS AT
THAT TIME.>>RIGHT. AND MIDDLE AT THAT
TIME WAS $32,000 TO $50,000. AND THE WAY THAT
THE RESOURCES WERE TARGETED WAS
VARIOUS PROGRAMS. GOT REHAB, VAKANT
BUILDINGS, NEW CONSTRUCTION,
VACANT LOTS, PRESERVATION OF
OCCUPIED BUILDINGS, BOTH
CITY BUILDINGS, OWNED BUILDINGS
AND PRIVATE BUILDINGS. WHEN YOU THEN TOOK
THE FUNDS THAT WERE AVAILABLE,
THE INCOME TARGETING, THE
STOCK IN TERMS OF WHAT KIND OF
PROGRAM YOU WERE GOING TO
DESIGNATE, YOU COULD COME UP WITH
THE NUMBER OF 252,000.>>NOW YOU COME UP
WITH WHAT DE BLASIO FACES.>>THEY DON’T HAVE
THE INVENTORY THAT WAS AVAILABLE. THE ISSUE IS LAND
VALUES HAVE RISEN EVERYWHERE. SO YOU HAVE VERY,
VERY HIGHLAND VALUES. YOU HAVE HIGH
ACQUISITION VALUES IN TERMS OF BUYING
APARTMENT BUILDINGS. YOU KNOW, AT THE
TIME OF THE KOCH PLAN, IF IT WAS A
PRIVATELY OWNED BUILDING,
ACQUISITIONS AT THAT POINT IF YOU
WANTED TO PURCHASE A PRIVATELY OWNED
BUILDING, THOSE APARTMENTS WERE
BETWEEN $3,000 AND $5,000 A UNIT. TODAY, YOU KNOW,
THE SKY’S THE LIMIT. YOU KNOW, THERE’S
SOME PRESERVATION DEALS WHERE PEOPLE
BUY UNITS AT $120,000. OR $130,000. SO THAT’S THE
FIRST THING. THE COST OF
DEVELOPING THE HOUSING, WHETHER
IT’S LAND OR WHETHER IT’S
BUILDINGS, IS A FAR DIFFERENT COST
THAN IT WAS BACK THEN. BUT AS I SAID
BEFORE, THERE ARE A LOT OF
SIMILARITIES. WHEN WE CAME OUT
WITH THE PLAN WITH 87% BELOW AND
MODERATE, THERE WERE A NUMBER OF
LOW-INCOME GROUPS, LOW-INCOME
ADVOCATES GROUPS THAT FELT THAT THE
CONCENTRATION WASN’T SUFFICIENT
IN TERMS OF THE LOW-INCOME
CATEGORY. EVEN THOUGH AT
THAT TIME IT WAS 60%. SO THE REASON
BEING WHICH IS WHAT THE COUNCIL
MEMBER SAID BEFORE, THE NEED
FOR HOUSING IS ACROSS THE BOARD. AND WITHIN EVERY
INCOME GROUP, THAT INCOME GROUP,
WHETHER IT’S LOW, MODERATE OR
MIDDLE, BELIEVES THAT THEY NEED
AFFORDABLE HOUSING. AND SO YOU’VE GOT,
YOU KNOW, GROUPS IN EACH ONE OF
THOSE GROUPS PEOPLE STILL THINK
THAT THAT HOUSING IS NOT ENOUGH FOR
THEM. AND THAT’S STILL
THE SAME ISSUE TODAY.>>JOHN, YOU
STUDIED THIS. YOU’VE LOOKED AT
IT. YOU’VE LOOKED AT
WHAT GREW OUT OF THE KOCH AND
DINKINS HOUSING PROGRAMS WHICH IS
A LARGE NONPROFIT HOUSING.>>RIGHT. I THINK ONE OF THE
THINGS — ANOTHER DIFFERENCE IS THAT
A GREAT DEAL OF THE PROGRAMS UNDER
WHAT WAS CALLED — OR STILL IS CALLED
I GUESS THE DIVISION OF
ALTERNATIVE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
WHICH WAS THE UNIT IN THE DEPARTMENT
OF HOUSING PRESERVATION AND
DEVELOPMENT OR HPD THAT WAS STEERING
A LOT OF PRESERVATION
PROPERTIES, ESPECIALLY INTO
PRESERVATION PROGRAMS SO THAT
THEY WERE WORKING WITH
COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATIONS THAT
HAD OFTEN BEEN THE TENANT ADVOCATES
WHO WERE FIGHTING THE LANDLORDS WHO
WERE WALKING AWAY FROM THEIR
BUILDINGS. AND SO YOU
ACTUALLY HAD THE GROWTH OF AN
INFRASTRUCTURE, A COMMUNITY-BASED
INFRASTRUCTURE OF NONPROFIT HOUSING
DEVELOPERS, SOME OF WHICH ARE STILL
GOING STRONG. MANY OF WHICH ARE
STILL GOING STRONG. BUT SOME OF WHOM
REALLY ARE NOT GOING STRONG OR
DON’T EXIST ANYMORE. AND PART OF THAT
STORY IS THAT DURING THE
GIULIANI ADMINISTRATION AND
THEN DURING THE BLOOMBERG
ADMINISTRATION, WE REALLY SHIFTED
GEARS SIGNIFICANTLY IN
TERMS OF THE HOWS AND THE WHOS WHO
ARE INVOLVED. THE GIULIANI
ADMINISTRATION WAS PROFOUNDLY
UNINTERESTED, REALLY, IN HOUSING
PRESERVATION. AND THE BLOOMBERG
ADMINISTRATION DID SOME HOUSING
PRESERVATION IN THEIR VAUNTED
165,000 UNITS OF AFFORDABLE
HOUSING, BUT AGAIN, IN A
NEIGHBORHOOD LIKE EAST HARLEM WHERE
I’VE DONE WORK WITH A COALITION
CALLED THE NEW YORK CITY
COMMUNITY LAND INITIATIVE WAS
PARTLY STARTED BY A GROUP CALLED
PICTURE THE HOMELESS AND THE
NEW ECONOMY PROJECT AND A
WHOLE BUNCH OF OTHER GROUPS NOW,
17, IN FACT, 94% OF THE AFFORDABLE
UNITS, AND THIS GETS BACK TO THIS
AREA MEDIAN INCOME VERSUS
NEIGHBORHOOD MEDIAN INCOME
ISSUE, 94% OF THE UNITS DEVELOPED
UNDER THE BLOOMBERG
ADMINISTRATION WERE UNAFFORDABLE
TO HOUSEHOLDS OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD. SO EVEN IF YOU SAY
THAT THERE’S A WHOLE LOT OF
PUBLIC HOUSING IN EAST HARLEM, EVEN
IF YOU TAKE OUT THE PUBLIC HOUSING
RESIDENTS, THERE’S STILL NO WAY ON
EARTH YOU’RE GETTING TO EVEN
HALF THOSE UNITS BEING AFFORDABLE
TO THE MEDIAN INCOME IN THE
NEIGHBORHOOD. AND THAT’S ONE OF
THE PROBLEMS. AND THAT’S WHY
PEOPLE ARE UPSET. THE OTHER THING
AND THE OTHER PART OF THE STORY IS IS
THAT UNDER GIULIANI, THE CITY
STOPPED TAKING BUILDINGS AND
PROPERTY INTO TAX FORECLOSURE. AND INSTEAD WHAT
IT DID IS DECIDED TO SELL THOSE
TAX — SO THE TAX LIENS, A LIEN IS,
YOU KNOW, WHEN I’M TALKING TO A
BROADER AUDIENCE, YOU WANT TO SAY
WHAT A LIEN IS, IT’S THE TIE TO
THE PROPERTY THAT’S ACTIVATED
BY THE DEBT. AND SO IT SOLD IT
INTO WHAT’S REALLY A SECONDARY MARKET
AND LIENS, IN TAX LIENS. SO THE CITY
ACTUALLY GAVE UP THE LEVERAGE THAT
IT HAD. SO IT’S NOT JUST
THIS SORT OF INNOCENT THING
THAT WE DON’T HAVE THE PROPERTY
ANYMORE. IT WAS UNDER
GIULIANI, WE GAVE UP WHATEVER
LEVERAGE WE HAD IN ORDER TO TAKE —
IN ORDER TO GET THE TAX REVENUE
BACK. NOW, IF YOU THINK
ABOUT IT IN TERMS OF MONEY, IT’S A
GOOD DEAL OF MONEY. BUT WHEN YOU LOOK
AT IT FROM THE OTHER ANGLE AND
SAY WE’RE NOW SPENDING A BILLION
DOLLARS IN THE HOMELESS SERVICES
SYSTEM, A BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR IN
THE HOMELESS SERVICES SYSTEM,
AND THE PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING INTO THE
SYSTEM ARE COMING FROM SEVERAL
FABD NEIGHBORHOODS. NOT THE WHOLE CITY
BUT SEVERAL NEIGHBORHOODS
WHERE THE BIGGEST CORRELATE FOR
FAMILIES ENTERING THE HOMELESS
SHELTER SYSTEM ARE TAX LIENS ON
BUILDINGS. IT’S A PROBLEM.>>NEW YORK
COLLEGE DID A POLL OF THE CITY THAT
CAME OUT THIS WEEK, THEY ASKED
QUESTIONS ABOUT AFFORDABLE
HOUSING. AND 65% OF THE
PEOPLE FELT IT WAS LIKELY OR VERY
LIKELY, AND IT WAS ACROSS EVERY
DEMOGRAPHIC, EDUCATION, INCOME,
BOROUGH, RACE, THAT THEY COULD BE
PRICED OUT OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD WHERE
THEY’RE LIVING INCLUDING 53% OF
THE PEOPLE MAKING OVER $100,000 A
YEAR. AND ANOTHER
RELEVANT QUESTION THEY ASKED, WHAT
WAS THE BIGGEST CAUSE OF
HOMELESSNESS? MORE PEOPLE SAID
LACK OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING, WHICH
WAS, YOU KNOW, FOLLOWED BY
UNEMPLOYMENT, MENTAL ILLNESS,
SUBSTANCE ABUSE. BUT THE LARGEST —
THAT FEEDS THE GENTRIFICATION
FEAR WHICH YOU SEEM VERY
PROFOUNDLY IN THIS PROPOSAL TO KIND
OF THE IN-FILL CONSTRUCTION IN
NYCHA HOUSING.>>WELL, YES. NYCHA IS LOOKING
TO DEVELOP PUBLIC HOUSING LAND IN AN
EMOTIONALLY CHARGED
ATMOSPHERE. THE FEAR OF
DISPLACEMENT IS WHAT’S DRIVING THE
OPPOSITION OF BOTH IN-FILL AND THE
MAYOR’S HOUSING PLAN. KEEP IN MIND THAT
THE GREATEST THREAT CONFRONTING
PUBLIC HOUSING IS NOT GENTRIFICATION
BECAUSE PUBLIC HOUSING BY
DEFINITION IS UNGENTRIFIABLE. THE GREATEST
THREAT IS DEMOLITION BY
NEGLECT. IF WE DEFER
MAINTENANCE AND NEGLECT THESE
BUILDINGS LONG ENOUGH, THEY WILL
BECOME UNLIVABLE. IT’S BEEN PLAGUED
BY DECADES OF DISINVESTMENT. IT HAS $17 BILLION
WORTH OF CAPITAL NEEDS. AND YET ONLY
RECEIVES $250 MILLION FROM THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO ADDRESS THOSE
NEEDS. SO THE GAP BETWEEN
THE NEED AND THE FUNDING THAT NYCHA
RECEIVES IS UNSUSTAINABLE AND
WE CANNOT SUSTAIN IT WITHOUT A
SUSTAINABLE REVENUE STREAM
WHICH IS WHAT LAND USE WOULD PROVIDE. THERE’S REAL — I
THINK OF LAND LEASE AS A MEANS
OF REDISTRIBUTING WEALTH. YOU’RE CAPTURING
WEALTH IN A HOT REAL ESTATE
MARKET. AND YOU’RE
REINVESTING IT AND PRESERVING PUBLIC
HOUSING. AND I BELIEVE
THAT’S A LAUDABLE GOAL.>>I WANT TO GO
BACK TO THE AFFORDABILITY
ISSUE WITH THE AMI. SO 60% OF AMI IS
SORT OF A PRODUCT OF THE REAGAN TAX
CODE CHANGES IN 1986. AND THEY CREATED
THE LOW-INCOME TAX CREDIT. THE TAX CREDIT,
YOU GET GENEROUS BENEFITS FOR
BUILDING UNITS AT 60% OF AMI. THAT IS THE
PROGRAM. SO THAT’S WHAT
PEOPLE BUILD TO. THERE IS NO TAX
PROGRAM FOR 30% OR 20% OF AMI. SO THAT’S THE
DIFFERENCE. WE HAVE
30-YEAR-OLD PROGRAMS FOR THESE
KIDS PROBABLY BEFORE THEY WERE
BORN, FOR THESE STUDENTS, SORRY. BEFORE THEY WERE
BORN. AND I WAS IN
COLLEGE AT THAT TIME. YOU HAVE 30, YOU
KNOW, YOU HAVE THIS SYSTEM THAT
IS 30 YEARS OLD AND IS SORT OF
ANTIQUATED. SO WE HAVE TO
DEVELOP NEW MODELS TO ADDRESS THAT,
YOU KNOW, THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE
30% OF AMI OR, YOU KNOW, $30,000,
$40,000 A YEAR. HARLEM, WEST
HARLEM, THE BRONX, WHERE I GREW UP,
YOU KNOW, WE DON’T HAVE THE PROGRAMS. SO ONE WOULD ARGUE
IF YOU BUILD TO THAT SORT OF
ECONOMIC STRATA, YOU HAVE TO
PROVIDE OPERATING SUBSIDIES, RIGHT?>>YOU WERE ABLE
TO IN JAMAICA, WHEN YOU
ORIGINALLY WERE GOING TO BUILD
WORKING WITH THE GREATER JAMAICA
DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, WHICH
IS SOMEBODY THAT I WORK WITH IN MY
REAL LIFE, YOU WERE ORIGINALLY
GOING TO DO THAT AS A 25%
AFFORDABLE WITHIN THE DEVELOPMENT.>>YES.>>AND — BUT THEN
THE DE BLASIO ADMINISTRATION
CAME TO YOU AND WANTED TO INCREASE
THAT AFFORDABILITY. WHAT HAPPENED?>>INTERESTING
THING. SO WE LIKE TO SET
ASIDE REQUESTS. COMMUNITY
DEVELOPMENT AND THE GREATER
JAMAICA COMMUNITY, THEY WANTED 20% TO
25% LOW INCOME. THE ADMINISTRATION
WANTED 33%. SO WE HAD TO
CONVINCE — THIS IS SORT OF THE
ARGUMENT. WE HAD TO CONVINCE
THE COMMUNITY TO ACCEPT MORE LOW
INCOME BECAUSE THEY SAID WE HAVE
THIS SORT OF PROFILE AS BEING A
LOW-INCOME COMMUNITY. WE WANT MORE
MIDDLE INCOME, MORE MODERATE
INCOME. WE WANT A MIX. AND WE THOUGHT 25. SO WE CONVINCED
THEM TO GO 33, 33, 33. 33 LOW, 33 MIDDLE,
33 MODERATE OF PERCENTAGE,
MODERATE TO GET TO 100%. AND THE COMMUNITY
BOUGHT IT. BUT, YOU KNOW,
WE’RE SUBSIDIZING THE LOW INCOME
WITH THE MIDDLE INCOME, AND THE
PROJECT HAS SUFFICIENT
SUBSIDIES TO DO SO. BUT YOU COULDN’T
BUILD IN JAMAICA WITH THAT MODEL
BECAUSE YOU’RE LIMITED WITH
SUBSIDIES. SO TO BE
SUSTAINABLE, YOU HAVE — THE MATH
HAS TO WORK ON AN ONGOING BASIS. AGAIN, I GET BACK
TO THAT.>>YEAH, THAT’S
ALL TRUE, AND AGREE WITH THAT,
BUT THE ISSUE IS REALLY AN ISSUE OF
MONEY. BECAUSE YOU CAN
BUILD TO ANY INCOME LIMIT IF
YOU’RE WILLING — AS GOVERNMENT, IF
YOU’RE WILLING TO PAY FOR IT. THERE ARE TWO WAYS
TO PAY FOR IT. YOU CAN EITHER
SUBSIDIZE OPERATING
EXPENSES, AND WHEN THE CITY HAD THE
AVAILABILITY OF MORE SECTION 8 AND
MORE SECTION 8 VOUCHERS —
>>SECTION 8 IS A REMGTS SUBSIDY
PROGRAM THAT’S BEEN CUT BACK.>>CORRECT. AND SO THEREFORE
YOU COULD REACH A LOWER-INCOME
FAMILY AND NOT SACRIFICE THE
INCOME THAT WENT TO THE PROPERTY
FOR OPERATING EXPENSES. SO TO SOME EXTENT
DURING THE KOCH ADMINISTRATION, WE
DID HAVE THE BENEFIT OF MORE
FREESTANDING VOUCHERS THAN THE
CITY CURRENTLY HAS. BUT THE ISSUE IS A
MONEY ISSUE. YOU COULD — IF
THE ADMINISTRATION WERE WILLING, YOU
CAN — YOU HAVE A MODEL WE DID, AND
I CURRENTLY MANAGE ON THE LOWER EAST
SIDE CALLED TWO BRIDGES. AND IT HAS FOUR
INCOME LEVELS. IT HAS 20%
HOMELESS, 20% LOW, 35% MODERATE, AND
WHATEVER THE BALANCE, 25%
MIDDLE. AND SO IT’S
STRUCTURED SO THAT AS A NEW YORK
PROJECT — >>ALL OF THE
APARTMENTS SUBSIDIZED?>>WELL, THE WAY
IT WORKS IS THE BUILDING ITSELF IS SUBSIDIZED. AND SO YOU WORK
BACKWARDS FROM WHAT INCOMES YOU
WANT TO REACH BASED ON THE RENT
THEY’RE WILLING TO PAY. AND THEN YOU LOOK
AT ALL OF THOSE RENTS IN A
BUILDING AND SAY BASED ON THIS,
THESE ARE MY OPERATING
EXPENSES. TAXES GENERALLY
ARE ABATED. THESE ARE MY OTHER
EXPENSES. MY MORTGAGE, MY
DEBT. WHAT DO I NEED IN
TERMS OF A SUBSIDY LEVEL IN ORDER TO
ACHIEVE THAT? AND SO THAT’S
REALLY THE ISSUE. THE ISSUE IS —
THE ISSUE IS THE LEVEL OF SUBSIDY
THAT ANY ADMINISTRATION IS
WILLING TO COMMIT. I JUST WANTED TO
MAKE A POINT BEFORE ABOUT THE
DISCUSSION ABOUT THE GIULIANI
ADMINISTRATION. THE GIULIANI
ADMINISTRATION REALLY FOCUSED TO
THE EXTENT THEY FOCUSED AT ALL ON
HOUSING AND HE RAN ACTUALLY WAS HIS
POLITICAL — HIS POLITICAL POLICY,
HIS POLICY STATEMENT ON
HOUSING WAS MIDDLE INCOME, OKAY. SO AS A CANDIDATE,
HE ENDORSED MIDDLE INCOME. HE DIDN’T ENDORSE
THE NEED FOR LOW INCOME. AND THEN WHEN
BLOOMBERG CAME, MY PERSONAL OPINION,
THEY PRETTY MUCH CARRIED THAT
FORWARD IN TERMS OF THE FOCUS ON
MIDDLE. WHAT IT DID WAS IT
SQUEEZED OUT, BASED ON THE FACT
THAT THEY STOPPED PRODUCTION, IT
SQUEEZED OUT THE PEOPLE AT THE LOW
END. AND THEN WITH ALL
DUE RESPECT, THERE WAS AT ONE POINT
WITHIN THAT CONTINUUM, THE
CITY COUNCIL VOTED FOR VACANCY
DECONTROL OF STABILIZED UNITS,
WHICH PUT PRESSURE ON THE RENTS, SO
RENTS BECAME HIGHER, AND
THEREFORE LOW-INCOME PEOPLE
HAD LESS ACCESS TO THOSE UNITS
BECAUSE THE RENTS WERE NOW HIGHER
BECAUSE OF DECONTROL. SO THEY WEREN’T
BUILDING ANY UNITS OR REPLACING THEM. THEY WERE LOSING
THEM AS A RESULT OF RENT
STABILIZATION. AND I THINK THE
THING THAT’S UNIQUE BETWEEN
THEN AND NOW IS THAT NOW IN THE
HOMELESS SHELTERS, WE HAVE
SINGLE-PARENT HEADS OF
HOUSEHOLDS EARNING $30,000 TO $40,000
A YEAR LIVING IN A SHELTER.>>WORKING POOR.>>YES. LIVING HOMELESS.>>LIVING IN A
HOMELESS SHELTER BECAUSE OF THE
INABILITY TO ACCESS AFFORDABLE
HOUSING. AND SO THEN THE
QUESTION BECOMES, WELL, DO YOU
SEPARATE YOUR HOMELESS PROGRAMS
AND INITIATIVES FROM YOUR HOUSING
PROGRAMS AND INITIATIVES? BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY,
YOU KNOW, THE POINT IS, IF YOU
CAN’T PUT THOSE UNITS OUT, YOU’RE
STILL GOING TO END UP WITH 60,000
PEOPLE IN THE SHELTERS BECAUSE
THERE’S PRESSURE ON EVERY SIDE,
EVEN ON THE STOCK THAT’S AVAILABLE
TO THEM. SO THAT’S ALSO
PART OF THE PROBLEM.>>BUT I THINK —
CAN I — >>GO AHEAD. PLEASE.>>I THINK YOU’RE
HITTING THE NAIL — I GUESS
THE QUESTION WE SHOULD ASK
OURSELVES IS LIKE THE CITY COUNCIL
AND MAYOR, WE’RE FACING MORE
CHALLENGES WITH FEWER RESOURCES
FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. SO HOW CAN WE
ADDRESS AN HISTORICALLY
UNPRECEDENTED AFFORDABILITY
CRISIS AT A TIME OF DECLINING
INVESTMENT IN BOTH HOUSING AND
INFRASTRUCTURE? FOR ME, IF WE WANT
TO REACH THE DEEPEST LEVEL OF
PUBLIC AFFORDABILITY, WE
WOULD NEED A DRAMATIC EXPANSION
OF THE SECTION 8 PROGRAM.>>RIGHT.>>EFFECTIVELY A
MORATORIUM.>>WHICH IS
EFFECTIVELY NOT GOING TO HAPPEN AS
LONG AS WE HAVE REPUBLICAN CONTROL
OF CONGRESS.>>EVEN THE
MAYOR’S OWN HOUSING PLAN
ACKNOWLEDGES LIMITATIONS.>>BUT THE FACT
THAT IT ACKNOWLEDGES ITS
OWN LIMITATIONS RAISES THE
QUESTION OF WHETHER THE
CRITICS OF THE PLAN WHO ARE
ALLIES OF THE — >>YEAH, YEAH.>>THESE ARE ALL
PROGRESSIVE PEOPLE. THIS IS NOT THE
GIULIANI ADMINISTRATION. YOU KNOW, THESE
ARE ALL PEOPLE ON THE SAME SIDE OF
THE POLITICAL DIVIDE. ARE PEOPLE — AND
YOU UNDERSTAND THE CONSTRAINTS THAT
THE MAYOR FACES, THE MATH
CONSTRAINTS, IF YOU WILL. ARE YOU MAKING THE
PERFECT THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD? PART OF YOUR JOB
IS TO PUSH HIM AS FAR AS YOU CAN. BUT IF YOU STEP
BACK, ARE YOU MAKING THE PERFECT
THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD?>>IN SOME WAYS I
DO BELIEVE THAT. I BELIEVE THE
CRITICISM OF THE FINANCIAL
CONSTRAINTS AND LEGAL CONSTRAINTS. AND THE MAYOR IS
MAKING A HERCULEAN EFFORT. AND THE OUTREACH
SHOULD BE DIRECTED TOWARD THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT WHICH HAS BEEN
DISINVESTING FROM PUBLIC HOUSING AND
FROM SECTION 8 WHICH IS THE
LARGEST PROVIDER FOR NEW YORKERS. THOSE ARE THE TWO
PROGRAMS THAT PREVENT
CATASTROPHIC HOMELESSNESS.>>CAN I —
>>SURE.>>I WANT TO BE
CAREFUL ABOUT SAYING THAT THE
PROGRESSIVE ADVOCATES AND
COUNCIL MEMBERS ARE MAKING THE
PERFECT THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD FOR
TWO REASONS. ONE IS THAT I
THINK THAT THE HOUSING PLAN AS IT
IS NOW IS A MARGINAL
IMPROVEMENT OVER WHAT BLOOMBERG
DID. BUT IT’S NOT HUGE. IF YOU LOOK AT
THE — IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT THE
NUMBERS OF WHAT THE DE BLASIO
PLAN — OF THE INCOME LEVELS AND
THE DEPTHS OF AFFORDABILITY, THE
DE BLASIO PLAN MEETS AND SIDE BY
SIDE WITH BLOOMBERG’S, IT’S
BETTER, BUT IT’S NOT THAT MUCH
BETTER. AND I THINK THAT
WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT
MAKING THE MARGINALLY BETTER
THE ENEMY OF THE QUITE A BIT
BETTER. AND HERE’S
WHERE — HERE’S WHERE I THINK THAT
IT MATTERS. THERE’S A FEW
PIECES OF MATH THAT I THINK WE
HAVE TO START THINKING
CREATIVELY ABOUT. ONE IS IS THAT YOU
HAVE — YOU HAVE GROUPS THAT —
NONPROFIT GROUPS THAT HAVE DONE —
FIRST OF ALL, THEY’RE NOT TAKING
PROFIT OUT OF IT, AND THAT HELPS. AND IT MAY NOT
SEEM LIKE A LOT OF PROFIT, BUT —
>>ONE COULD ARGUE THERE’S A
SUFFICIENT WAY TO DO THIS.>>THERE ARE
NONPROFIT GROUPS AROUND THE CITIES
THAT HAVE BEEN DOING THIS VERY
WELL FOR 20, 30 YEARS. THEY RUN THEIR
HOUSING WELL. AND THEY DO SO FOR
LOTS OF PEOPLE. AND THE SAME SORT
OF THING THAT YOU DESCRIBED. WHO ARE — THE
AFFORDABILITY TARGETS ARE MUCH
DEEPER THAN WHAT WE’RE TALKING
ABOUT NOW. AND THEN AGAIN, I
JUST WANT TO GET BACK TO THIS IDEA
THAT, YOU KNOW, IN THE CLUSTER SITE
SHELTER PROGRAM, WE ARE SPENDING UP
TO $3600 A MONTH TO HOW’S HOMELESS
FAMILIES.>>BUT WHY IS
THAT?>>BECAUSE WE’RE
NOT THINKING VERY CREATEIVELY.>>THERE’S A
STRUCTURAL PROBLEM. WE HAD THE
DEPARTMENT OF I THINK HOMELESS
SERVICES COMMISSIONER, AND
I’M ON THE BOARD AND WE ASKED THE
QUESTION. I THINK IT WAS
50,000 HOMELESS AT THE TIME. AND THEY SAID THEY
SPENT $1 BILLION A YEAR. WE DID THE MATH. WE SAID SO THE
FAMILIES YOU MENTIONED WHO MAKE
$30,000, SOME FAMILIES MAKE
LESS, HOW MUCH WOULD IT COST FOR
US TO, ON AVERAGE, TO PUT THESE
PEOPLE BACK IN THEIR HOME? IT WAS AMAZING
NUMBERS. LESS THAN $1,000. SO BASICALLY IF
YOU DO THE MATH, WE’RE SOLVING A
$500 MILLION PROBLEM WITH $1
BILLION. WHY? DISPARATE SOURCES. WE HAVE CITY,
STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. AND FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT DOES NOT BELIEVE IN
SOLVING THIS ON A PERMANENT BASIS. THEY PROVIDE
TEMPORARY ANNUAL MONEY FOR
TEMPORARY SOLUTIONS. MEANING SHELTERS. SO THE SOURCES
DICTATE HOW WE SPEND THE MONEY. WE COULD SPEND
HALF THE MONEY IN HOUSING. RIGHT? I WOULD TAKE THAT
IF SOMEONE COULD AFFORD 600, IF YOU
GAVE ME $1,000, I’LL PROVIDE A
TWO-BEDROOM FOR THEM. WE HAVE THE MONEY. WE JUST HAVE SORT
OF INEFFICIENT SYSTEMS.>>THE RULES.>>IT TAKES PEOPLE
TO GET AROUND THE TABLE AND FIX THE
SYSTEM. AMERICA DOESN’T
HAVE AN AFFORDABILITY
HOUSING PROBLEM. WE HAVE TOO MANY
HOUSES IN THE WRONG PLACES. GO TO FLORIDA AND
OTHER PLACES, YOU HAVE BEAUTIFUL
HOMES THAT NO ONE BOUGHT. NEW YORK CITY IS
AN ISLAND AND EVERYONE WANTS TO
LIVE HERE. WE HAVE AN
ARTIFICIAL HOUSING ISSUE. ARTIFICIAL. YOU HAVE LOW
ZONING AND NO TRAIN SYSTEMS. SO TODAY YOU GET
WET, YOU TAKE A DOLLAR CAP THAT’S
PROBABLY ILLEGAL TO GET TO THE
SUBWAY STATION TO GET TO MANHATTAN,
IT TAKES YOU AN HOUR AND A HALF. MY SISTER LIVES
THERE, HER HOME HASN’T KROESED IN
VALUE. A MILE AWAY AT
BROOKLYN TECH, WE OWNED A PLACE,
IT’S UP 20 TIMES BECAUSE IT’S CLOSE
TO TRANSPORTATION. LARGE SWATHS OF
NEW YORK CITY HASN’T HAD
APPRECIABLE INCREASE IN RENTS,
IN VALUE, BECAUSE OF PUBLIC
TRANSPORTATION. IF YOU LOOK AT THE
INCREASES IN BROOKLYN, IT’S THE
WESTWARD MOVEMENT OF YUPPIES AND
BUPPIES.>>IT’S A VERY
IMPORTANT POINT, THE NEIGHBORHOODS,
IT’S 12 NEIGHBORHOODS THAT
THE MAYOR HAS IDENTIFIED IN
THE — THAT ARE TO BE REZONED, FIRST
ONE BEING EAST NEW YORK, ARE
LINKED — ARE LINKED TO TRANSIT. I MEAN, HE’S
LOOKING FOR OUTLYING
NEIGHBORHOODS, OR MORE OUTLYING
NEIGHBORHOODS THAT HAVE EXISTING
INFRASTRUCTURE. WHERE LAND RIGHT
NOW IS MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE THAN IN
THE LONG ISLAND CITIES, THE
WILLIAMSBURGS, EVEN NOW BUSHWICK
IS GETTING MORE EXPENSIVE. PARTS OF THE SOUTH
BRONX HAVE BEEN YOU KNOW, YOU’VE
SEEN THE BEGINNING OF GENTRIFICATION.>>EVEN ON THE
CONCOURSE.>>YOU’RE RIGHT. I CONTEND, THOUGH,
AND SOME OF YOUR COLLEAGUES, WE
NEED SORT OF AN EDUCATION SESSION
BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, BEFORE I GOT INTO
DEVELOPMENT, I HAD TWO DIFFERENT
CAREERS. YOU KNOW, SOMEONE
WENT TO THE BUILDINGS, WHY ARE
THEY BUILDING IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD? WE DON’T NEED
THESE TALL BUILDINGS. BUT YOU WANT MORE
AFFORDABILITY, BUT YOU DON’T WANT THE
DENSITY. RIGHT? AND IF YOU WANT
ONE OR THE OTHER, YOU SAY, WELL, WE
HAVE TO BUILD IT UNION. SO IT’S MORE
EXPENSIVE. SO THOSE ARE
CONFLICTING GOALS.>>BUT ISN’T THE
MAYOR PRECISELY — YOU KNOW, ONE OF
THE DEALS HE’S GOT TO MAKE WITH
HIMSELF COMING OUT OF A CITY COUNCIL
CAREER IS WE WILL ALLOW YOU TO BUILD
HIGHER. WE WILL ALLOW YOU
TO BUILD DENSER.>>NO, NO. THEY DON’T WANT
DENSITY. BECAUSE THEY THINK
THAT’S A BAD THING.>>I THINK
COMMUNITIES — I THINK COMMUNITIES
DON’T WANT DENSITY IF THEY DON’T FEEL
AS IF THE DENSITY IS GOING TO SERVE
THEM.>>IT’S A
KNEE-JERK REACTION. THEY DON’T WANT
DENSITY. BUT I CONTEND THAT
IF YOU ACCELERATE GENTRIFICATION,
IT’S SUPPLY AND DEMAND. ANY ECONOMICS MAJORS HERE? THIS IS SUPPLY AND
DEMAND. WE’RE LOSING
12,000 UNITS A YEAR AND THE MAYOR
HAS 1,000 HE CAN BUILD BECAUSE HE’S
CONSTRAINED. I SUPPORT THE
MAYOR 100%. AND ALL OF HIS
PLANS. BUT IF YOU LOOK AT
IT, YOU KNOW, I’VE HAD TO DO IT
THEORETICALLY, I WOULD MORE DENSITY
BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO CREATE THE
SUPPLY TO OFFSET PRICES BECAUSE IF
YOU BUILD — IF WE HAD A 300,000-UNIT
PLAN, YOU WOULD SORT OF CAP THE
SPECULATION BECAUSE FOLKS
WOULD SAY, WAIT A MINUTE. I MAY BUY THIS
LAND, THIS BUILDING, BUT
SOMEBODY’S BUILDING A NEW
UNIT AND I CAN’T COMPETE WITH THAT
UNIT. SO THE ISSUE IS
SUPPLY. WE HAVE A SUPPLY
ISSUE. THIS DISPUTE LANDS
ON YOUR LAP. THIS KIND OF
COMMUNITY DENSITY VERSUS
AFFORDABILITY.>>THE RESISTANCE
VARIES WIDELY. I DON’T WANT TO
DESCRIBE THE OPPOSITION AS
MONOLITHIC.>>RIGHT.>>SOME”
COMMUNITIES, DENSITY IS AN
EPITHET. IT’S ASSOCIATED
WITH DISPLACEMENT BECAUSE THAT HAS
BEEN THE HISTORICAL
OCCURRENCE. I WANT TO TAKE
ISSUE WITH ONE THING THE
PROFESSOR SAID IF I UNDERSTOOD
CORRECTLY. I DO BELIEVE THE
MAYOR’S PLAN IS MORE THAN A
MARGINAL IMPROVEMENT UPON
THE STATUS QUO BECAUSE THE BEST
TOOL THAT WE HAVE FOR CREATING
AFFORDABLE HOUSING IS THE ZONING
CODE. AND SO UNDER MIH,
BEFORE YOU COULD HAVE A REZONING
WITHOUT CREATING A SINGLE UNIT OF
AFFORDABLE HOUSING. NOW IN A REZONED
NEIGHBORHOOD, ONCE WE PUT MIH IN
PLACE, YOU’LL BE REQUIRED TO BUILD
AFFORDABLE HOUSING. WE’RE CREATING AN
ANCHOR OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING
THAT CAN SURVIVE GENTRIFICATION. I MEAN, THE
OPERATING ASSUMPTION OF THE
MAYOR’S PLAN IS THAT
GENTRIFICATION WILL SWEEP MORE
AND MORE NEIGHBORHOODS. AND SO MIH WILL
GUARANTEE THAT AT LEAST A PERCENTAGE
OF THE UNITS WILL REMAIN AFFORDABLE. I THINK THAT’S A
SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT. NOT A MARGINAL.>>UNLESS IT’S NOT
AFFORDABLE TO THE PEOPLE WHO ARE
THERE.>>NO, BUT I AGREE
WITH THAT.>>I THINK WE
SHOULD MEASURE THE MAYOR’S PLAN —
NOT AGAINST THE IDEAL BUT AGAINST
IS HE DOING — IS HE MAKING THE BEST
POSSIBLE USE OF THE SCARCE
RESOURCES OF A MUNICIPALITY, AND
GIVEN DECLINING INVESTMENT FROM
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, THE
MAYOR IS MAKING A TRULY VALIANT
EFFORT.>>I AGREE WITH
YOU, THERE ARE CERTAIN
COMMUNITIES WHERE DEVELOPMENT IS
GOING TO OCCUR OR CONTINUE TO OCCUR,
AND WITHOUT THE MANDATORY, YOU’RE
JUST GOING TO GET MARKET RATE. AND YOU WON’T
HAVE — >>THAT’S WORSE —
>>AND WE KNOW WHERE THOSE
COMMUNITIES ARE. AND THEY CONTINUE
TO EXPAND, RIGHT? I THINK THE ISSUE
OF THE MANDATORY IN NEIGHBORHOODS
THAT HAVEN’T YET BEGUN, REALLY
BEGUN THE GENTRIFICATION
PROCESS, AND REALLY EAST NEW
YORK HAS NOT REALLY BEGUN THE
GENTRIFICATION PROCESS. I SPEND A GREAT
DEAL OF TIME THERE.>>IT MAY
EVENTUALLY.>>IT MAY.>>IT COULD GO THE
OTHER WAY.>>IN THE LONG
RUN.>>THAT’S WHAT
HAPPENED IN THE ’70s AND ’80s. YOU HAD
DISINVESTMENT. HARLEM HAD 60%
VACANCY.>>THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD
DEGENTRIFIED.>>NO, BECAUSE YOU
HAVE THESE, YOU KNOW –>>BUT I THINK, THOUGH, FOR PEOPLE
TO BE CONCERNED IN THOSE
NEIGHBORHOODS IS A NATURAL CONCERN
BECAUSE THEY VIEW WHAT’S HAPPENED IN
BUSHWICK. THEY VIEW WHAT’S
HAPPENED IN WILLIAMSBURG. AND THAT IT’S AN
ACTUAL FEAR THAT SAYS IT’S
CREEPING — YOU KNOW, IT USED TO
BE IN THE OLD DAYS IT WAS ABANDONMENT
THAT WAS CREEPING UP. NOW PEOPLE’S FEARS
NOT AS ABANDONMENT BUT GENTRIFICATION
IS CREEPING IN.>>IF YOU LOOK
NATIONALLY, WE HAVE 67 — IT’S
GONE DOWN NOW SINCE THE GREAT
RECESSION. ABOUT 64%, 65%
HOME OWNERSHIP, PROFESSOR, IN THIS
COUNTRY? NEW YORK CITY,
IT’S THE INVERSE. WE HAVE 35% HOME
OWNERSHIP, 65% RENTERS. IF YOU GO IN ANY
NEIGHBORHOOD ACROSS AMERICA AND
SAY MY NEIGHBORHOOD
VALUES HAVE INCREASED,
EVERYBODY’S HAPPY, APPLAUDING. I CAN SEND MY KIDS
TO COLLEGE, BORROW AGAINST IT. IN NEW YORK CITY,
THEY’RE MOSTLY RENTERS. SO THE RISING TIDE
DOESN’T LIFT ALL BOATS BECAUSE THE
PEOPLE RENTING GET NERVOUS IF THEY
HAVE TO PAY MORE IN RENT. THE PEOPLE WHO OWN
ARE HAPPY. AND I HEARD THIS
YESTERDAY FROM SOMEONE WHO SAID
THAT COVIN GRANHAM, THEY DO
GREAT WORK IN BED-STUY. IT DEPENDS WHO YOU
TALK TO. THE HOMEOWNERS
LOVE IT, THE RENTERS HATE IT. NEW YORK IS A
UNIQUE — >>THE RENT IS
MORE COMMON THAN THE BROWNSTONE
OWNERS.>>RIGHT, BECAUSE
65% OF NEW YORKERS RENT.>>AND
WILLIAMSBURG AND BED-STUY —
>>PEOPLE FEAR DISPLACEMENT
BECAUSE THEY SHOULD FEAR
DISPLACEMENT, RIGHT? BECAUSE YOU DON’T
WANT TO LOSE YOUR HOME, YOUR
NEIGHBORHOOD. EVEN IF YOU COULD
MOVE TO ANOTHER NEIGHBORHOOD
THAT’S AFFORDABLE –>>THE RATIONAL FEAR.>>IT’S A RATIONAL
FEAR. BUT WHAT IF
SOMEONE SAID WE WILL FIX THIS —
YOU WOULD NOT BE DISPLACED BUT LET
US BUILD HIGHER. YOU CAN DO THAT. THAT WOULD BE A
RATIONAL TRADE. TAKE NYCHA, HAS
HOW MANY SQUARE FOOTAGE OF
UNDEVELOPED LAND? 350 MILLION SQUARE
FEET. YOU COULD SOLVE
THE AFFORDABILITY CRISIS. NOT MARKET RATE. YOU BUILD MIDDLE,
YOU BUILD LOW, AND YOU SAY WHOEVER
LIVES THERE IS NOT DISPLACED. WOULD PEOPLE THEN
GO FOR BUILDING ON NYCHA LAND? BUT ULTIMATELY,
YOU COULD BUILD FOR THE NEXT 40
YEARS AND NOT GET IT DONE. JUST ON NYCHA
LAND. I’M SAYING WHERE
IS THE CREDIBLE PLAN? NOT FROM THE
MAYOR. HE’S LIMITED BY
THE POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT. BUT THE ADVOCATES
THAT SIT AROUND THE TABLE, AND I
CAN BUILD AFFORDABLE IF I
GET THE SUBSIDY. I’M SAYING I CAN’T
GET THAT SUBSIDY. IT’S NOT
PRACTICAL. HOW CAN YOU BUILD
SUSTAINABLE HOUSING FOR EVERY
INCOME STRATA? IN MY FAMILY, I
HAVE EVERY INCOME STRATA, AND PEOPLE
ARE STRESSED. THEY GO OH, I
SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT THAT HOUSE 15, 20
YEARS AGO WHEN I TOLD THEM TO. NOBODY WANTED TO
DO IT. I COULDN’T GET
AWAY CONDOS AND FOR GREEN IN 2000
AND 2001. 120,000, WHICH
MORTGAGE WOULD BE LISTED AT $1,000. PEOPLE DIDN’T WANT
TO BUY BECAUSE YOU HAD AMPLE SUPPLY
OF RENTABLE STOCK. RIGHT? YOU HAVE MORE
PEOPLE MOVING INTO NEW YORK CITY. SO NEW YORK CITY
BASICALLY HAD WHITE FLIGHT, TO
BE HONEST, WHITE FLIGHT IN THE ’60s
THROUGH ’80s. YOU WENT FROM 8
MILLION TO 7 MILLION PEOPLE. NOW YOU’RE GOING
FROM 8 TO 9 MILLION. IT’S JUST MATH,
RIGHT? SO PEOPLE, YOU
KNOW, PEOPLE WOULD RATHER LIVE ON THE
GOLD COAST OF BROOKLYN AND
MANHATTAN. THEY HAVE TO MOVE
TO BED-STUY BECAUSE OF LESS
HOUSING STOCK. AND MANHATTAN HAS
BECOME A PLACE WHERE THERE’S UBER
RICH PEOPLE. IF YOU MAKE
$400,000, YOU CAN’T AFFORD
MANHATTAN. SO YOU MOVE TO
NORTHERN MANHATTAN, YOU
MOVE TO BROOKLYN, AND THEN YOU FORCE
THOSE PEOPLE MOVING EAST. SO WE’VE SEEN IT. YOU KNOW, BEFORE
GREEN, WHEN I WENT TO BROOKLYN TECH, THEY HAD
$60,000 BROWNSTONES. NOW THERE’S $3
MILLION. AND THAT’S MOVING
CROWN HEIGHTS. THAT’S MOVING SORT
OF EAST AND SOUTHWARD NOW
BECAUSE OF THOSE PRESSURES IN
MANHATTAN. AND MANHATTAN HAS
A LOT OF VACANT CONDOS OWNED BY
FOREIGNERS WHO JUST USE IT AS AN
ASSET BASE.>>I WANT TO GO TO
A QUESTION. YOU ALSO TALKED
ABOUT THAT YOU’RE VERY INTERESTED IN
THE MAYOR’S IDEA OF RUNNING A NEW
SUBWAY LINE DOWN UTICA AVENUE TO
ONE OF THE MOST UNDERSERVED
TRANSIT AREAS IN BROOKLYN. AND THE
DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES THAT
THAT WOULD PROVIDE FOR AFFORDABLE
HOUSING.>>YEAH, UTICA,
PENNSYLVANIA. FROM EAST NEW
YORK. PENNSYLVANIA
AVENUE. YOU KNOW, YOU GET
TRAPPED AWAY FROM SUBWAY LINES. IF YOU EXTEND —
IF YOU EXTEND THE TRANSPORTATION
NETWORK AND THEN YOU COULD CREATE,
YOU KNOW, AS YOU SAID YOU CAN
CREATE UNITS WITH ZONING, AND WITH
TAX ABATEMENTS WHICH WE DON’T
HAVE NOW, RIGHT? SO THAT MAKES IT
WORSE. SO IT’S
POLITICAL — >>WHICH IS
PRESUPPOSED ON THE MAYOR’S PLAN.>>THERE’S NO TAX
ABATEMENT, RIGHT? YOUR DENSITY IS
LIMITED, RIGHT? BECAUSE A LOT OF
NEIGHBORHOODS UP, YOU CAN’T GO
HIGHER THAN TEN OR SIX STORIES. YOU CAN’T GO
HIGHER THAN THIS LANDMARK. SO YOU’RE LIMITED. SO IF THERE WAS A
MORATORIUM ON BUILDING, NO
GENTRIFICATION, RIGHT? I CONTEND YOU HAVE
MORE BECAUSE YOU CAN’T BUILD. SO YOU HAVE MORE
DEMAND AND SUPPLY IS NOT KEEPING UP
WITH DEMAND. YOU WOULD
ACCELERATE GENTRIFICATION.>>LET ME TAKE A
QUESTION. TELL US YOUR NAME
AND YOUR CAMPUS, PLEASE.>>HI, MY NAME IS
STEPHANIE. AND I ATTEND JON
JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE. MY QUESTION IS
WILL THE 421A PLAN BE REVIVED IN NEW
YORK?>>WILL IT BE
REVIVED?>>I GUESS NONE OF
US ARE EXPERTS ON THE POLICY OF
ALBANY.>>ONE OF THE KEY
DEBATES IN THE 421A IS THE USE OF
UNION LABOR PREVAILING WAGE,
PREVAILING WAGE, CONSTRUCTION, AS I
UNDERSTAND IT, IF YOU DEVELOP WITH
UNION CONSTRUCTION, IT
COULD BE $300 OR $400 A SQUARE
FOOT. IF YOU HAVE A
CHOICE OF SUBCONTRACTING OUT
TO UNION OR NONUNION, IT COULD
LOWER THE COST OF CONSTRUCTION TO
BELOW $300 A SQUARE FOOT. THIS ARDENTLY
PRO-MAYOR, PRO-UNION MAYOR
HAS BASICALLY MADE ANOTHER COMPROMISE
IN SAYING THAT BY NOT REQUIRING THE
USE OF UNION LABOR. AND THAT’S BEEN
PART OF THE WHOLE 421A DEBATE.>>I MEAN, I THINK
THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM SEEMS TO BE
THAT 421A IS AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT
OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING
DEVELOPMENT. OR THAT’S WHAT
I’VE HEARD FROM AFFORDABLE HOUSING
DEVELOPERS. BUT THE GOVERNOR
HAS SAID THAT HE’S INTENT ON SEEING
THE TAX ABATEMENT RENEWED OR A NEW
ONE CREATED. BUT IT’S BEEN
CONTINGENT UPON AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN
THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY AND THE
BUILDING TRADES. AND I CAN TELL YOU
THERE’S IMPLAQUABLE
HOSTILITY BETWEEN THOSE SIDES. I’M PESSIMISTIC.>>I AM, TOO.>>LOOK, IT
DEPENDS HOW THEY STRUCTURE IT. YOU KNOW, YOU CAN
DO 421A IN THE BOROUGHS. AND IF YOU IMPOSE
UNION LABOR IN THE BOROUGHS, YOU’RE
NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO DO THE
PROJECT BECAUSE YOU’RE CONSTRAINED
BY YOUR RENT.>>YOU CAN’T DO
IT.>>YOU CAN’T DO
IT. BUT THERE ARE MANY
421A DEVELOPERS WHO DO 80/20s.>>80 MARKET, 20
AFFORDABLE.>>RIGHT. BUT ALL OF THOSE
PRETTY MUCH TIME AND MEMORIAL HAVE
BEEN UNION JOBS. THOSE MANHATTAN
JOBS ARE UNION JOBS.>>BUT NOW YOU’RE
GOING TO 75/25.>>BUT THE POINT
IS, IN TERMS OF COMPROMISE, THE
UNION — IN TERMS OF COMPROMISE, IF
YOU CAN DEVELOP A COMPROMISE WITH
THE UNIONS THAT SAYS IN AREAS
WHERE THE RENT CAN SUPPORT, BECAUSE
YOU HAVE VERY HIGH RENT, WHERE IT
COULD SUPPORT THE INCREMENTAL COSTS
OF UNION LABOR, THEN YOU SHOULD DO
UNION LABOR. BUT IN THE
BOROUGHS WHERE THE RENT CAN’T SUPPORT
THAT, THEN THEY SHOULD MAKE A
COMPROMISE THAT SAYS THESE AREAS
AT THIS POINT IN TIME CAN’T SUPPORT
THAT EXTRA COST, AND SO THEREFORE
THESE PROJECTS SHOULD BE EXEMPT
FROM UNION LABOR.>>UNIONS OFTEN DO
PROJECT LABOR AGREEMENTS
PRECISELY TO SUPPORT AFFORDABLE
HOUSING.>>BUT THEY DON’T
GIVE ENOUGH.>>AND THEIR
MEMBERS OFTEN DO.>>THEY DON’T GIVE
ENOUGH.>>THE ISSUE IS,
YOU HAVE A PROJECT LABOR AGREEMENT. YOU CAN’T GET THEM
TO ABIDE BY IT. THEY HAVE 100%
EMPLOYMENT NOW, RIGHT? WHO’S GOING TO
TAKE THAT PAY CUT? SO THERE ARE
STRUCTURE ISSUES WITH THAT AS WELL. I PREDICT YOU’LL
HAVE A TAX ABATEMENT BECAUSE
WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW? THE UNIONS — IT
WAS A TOUGH, YOU KNOW, SORT OF
NEGOTIATION. AND IT BROKE DOWN. AND WE HAVE NO
421A. BUT WHAT’S
HAPPENING? IF YOU’RE GOING TO
BUILD AND YOU CAN’T BUILD
RENTAL, YOU’RE GOING TO BUILD
WHAT?>>CONDO.>>YOU COULD BUILD
THE MARKET. SO THE UNIONS ARE
ANYWAY. PEOPLE KEEP
BUILDING SO THEY’RE GOING TO
COME BACK TO THE TABLE. AND I THINK YOU’LL
HAVE SOME COMPROMISE AS
FELICE SAID. AND I THINK IT
WILL HAPPEN PROBABLY THIS
YEAR.>>BUT THEY HAVE
TO FIX IT ALSO TO MAKE IT MORE
EFFICIENT. THERE’S A LOT OF
421As.>>LISTEN, THAT’S
AN HISTORICAL ARGUMENT ABOUT THE
EFFICIENCY OF TAX ABATEMENT IN TERMS
OF AN ALTERNATIVE HOUSING SUBSIDY. BUT THE POINT IS,
WE’VE HAD, LET’S SAY, WE’VE HAD
ALMOST 40 YEARS OF 421A, OKAY. RIGHT? 37 YEARS OF IT. AND THERE’S BEEN
THE SAME CRITICISMS FOR 37
YEARS.>>RIGHT.>>BUT, I MEAN, IF
YOU’RE MAKING THE SAME CRITICISM FOR
37 YEARS, YOU’RE EITHER AT LEAST
PARTLY RIGHT OR YOU’RE JUST —
>>THE MARKETS ARE BUILDING OPEN SHOP
NOW, AND THEY’RE NOT GOING BACK.>>NONUNION, YOU
DON’T HAVE ALL UNIONS.>>THERE’S AN
UNDERLYING POLITICAL STRUGGLE
BETWEEN THE GOVERNOR AND THE
MAYOR, OKAY?>>YES, THERE IS.>>BECAUSE FOR
MANY YEARS, THERE’S BEEN AN
ARGUMENT THAT THE CITY’S CAPITAL
FUNDS SHOULD USE UNION LABOR. AND THERE HAVE
BEEN BILLS IN ALBANY, MANY, MANY
TIMES REQUIRING THE CITY TO USE
UNION LABOR OF PREVAILING WAGE
WHERE A PROJECT HAS CITY CAPITAL
FUNDS. IF YOU DO A
FEDERAL PROJECT, YOU HAVE TO USE
PREVAILING WAGE. AND EACH TIME,
BECAUSE OF THE NEED FOR
AFFORDABLE HOUSING, THAT
LEGISLATION HAS NEVER MADE IT TO
THE NOOR. SO THE ISSUE IS,
IT’S A VERY SIMILAR ISSUE. ON CITY CAPITAL
FUNDS, IT’S CAPITAL SUBSIDY,
AND THOSE ARE SAYING IN ALBANY
THAT THAT CAN’T BE DONE BECAUSE IT IMPACTS
AFFORDABLE HOUSING. IN 421A, IT SPEAKS
TO MAYBE THERE’S AN ADDITIONAL
STRUGGLE SEPARATE AND APART FROM
THAT ISSUE.>>LET’S BE CLEAR. I USE UNION LABOR. NOT ALL THE TIME. ALL MY JOBS HAVE
SOME UNION LABOR. IN PHILADELPHIA,
WE BUILD 100% UNION. IN NEW JERSEY
NEWARK, 100% UNION. YOU KNOW WHAT THE
WAGES ARE? NOT THE WAGES, THE
TOTAL HARD COST? 250.>>FOR —
>>PER SQUARE FOOT. 600, 500 HERE IN
NEW YORK CITY. DIFFERENT WAGE
RATES, DIFFERENT RULES HERE,
DIFFERENT COSTS IN NEW YORK CITY. SO IS IT
PRACTICAL? AND I SAID, LOOK,
I WILL BUILD UNION IF YOU OWN THE
BUILDING. I GET MY FEE. I WOULD DO WHAT I
NORMALLY DO. BUT I CAN’T MAKE
IT WORK FOR MY INVESTORS. USE YOUR PENSION
FUNDS. AND THEY LOOKED AT
IT AND SAID IT DOESN’T WORK. WE CAN’T DO IT. SO THERE’S NOT,
LIKE, YOU KNOW, SOMEONE DOESN’T
WANT TO DO IT. IT JUST DOESN’T
WORK FOR LOW INCOME AND MIDDLE
INCOME AND AFFORDABLE
HOUSING.>>YES, MA’AM.>>HI, GOOD
EVENING. MY NAME IS ABIOLA
AND I’M FROM CITY COLLEGE. MY QUESTION IS ARE
THERE ANY PROGRAMS FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE
DEPENDENT ON HOUSING THAT COULD
EVENTUALLY HELP THEM TO NOT BE ON
GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES FOR
HOUSING? FOR EXAMPLE,
EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT?>>I’M NOT SURE I
UNDERSTAND THE QUESTION. YOU’RE ASKING ARE
THERE PROGRAMS THAT TRY TO TAKE
PEOPLE OUT OF SUBSIDIZED HOUSING
INTO MARKET-RATE HOUSING?>>NO. SO BASICALLY, YOU
KNOW PEOPLE ARE DEPENDENT ON
GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES FOR
HOUSING.>>RIGHT.>>SO I WANT TO
KNOW IF THERE ARE PROGRAMS THAT
COULD HELP THEM EVENTUALLY GET OUT
OF GOVERNMENT HOUSING?>>YES.>>WELL, THE POINT
OF INVESTMENTS IN PUBLIC EDUCATION
AND HIGHER EDUCATION AND WORK
FORCE DEVELOPMENT IS AIMED AT
LIFTING PEOPLE UP THE ECONOMIC
LADDER. BUT I WOULD EVEN
ACKNOWLEDGE, AS A MEMBER OF
GOVERNMENT, THAT GOVERNMENT TENDS
TO BE MORE EFFECTIVE AS
PREVENTING MISERY AND DESITUTION.>>THERE ARE
DEVELOPMENTS TIED TO SELF-SUFFICIENCY PROGRAMS. YOU MENTIONED
BEFORE THE NOT-FOR-PROFITS. A LOT OF THE
HOUSING THAT WAS DEVELOPED BY NOT
FOR PROFITS IN ADDITION TO
HOUSING, THEY PROVIDE NOT ONLY
SOCIAL SERVICES, BUT THEY PROVIDE
EDUCATIONAL SERVICES, COMPUTER
CLASSES, A WHOLE HOST OF SERVICES,
PARTICULARLY THE UNITS THAT ARE
DEVELOPED BY ENTERPRISE AND
LIFT WHICH PROVIDES A
LOW-INCOME TAX CREDIT. YOU KNOW, AGAIN,
WE GO BACK TO THE ISSUE WELL, WE
HAVE A PROBLEM OF SCALE. AND WHILE IT MAY
BASICALLY PROVIDE THEM WITH
SELF-SUFFICIENCY, THEN THEY BECOME
SELF-SUFFICIENT, BUT THEY’VE GOT TO
GO OUT TO THE MARKET AND THEN
FIND A NONSUBSIDIZED
UNIT. SO IT’S A LITTLE
BIT OF A CATCH-22. BUT THERE ARE
PROGRAMS THAT PROMOTE
SELF-SUFFICIENCY.>>AND THEY’RE NOT
LIGHT BUT A LOT OF THESE PROGRAMS
AREN’T LIKELY TO LIFT PEOPLE’S
INCOMES SO MUCH IF THEY’RE VERY — IF
THEY’RE VERY POOR AND THEY NEED A
LOT OF HOUSING SUBSIDY, EVEN
BEING QUITE A BIT BETTER OFF BUT
STILL POOR, THEY’RE STILL
GOING TO NEED HOUSING SUBSIDIES.>>THERE WAS A
LONGITUDINAL STUDY DONE THAT SHOWS IF
YOU TAKE A LOW-INCOME PERSON,
A PREDOMINANTLY LOW-INCOME
NEIGHBORHOOD AND PUT THEM IN THE
MIDDLE OR UPPER NEIGHBORHOOD,
YOU’RE BETTER LONG-TERM
OUTCOMES, RIGHT? SO THAT WOULD
ACTUALLY TURN GENTRIFICATION ON
ITS HEAD. BECAUSE YOU
HAVE — RIGHT? SO YOU NEED MORE
DEVELOPMENT. YOU NEED MORE
RESOURCES. I CONTEND THAT WE
HAVE — WE HAVE AN ADVERSE SELECTION
ISSUE IN NEW YORK, RIGHT? SO YOU HAVE
COMMUNITIES LIKE COMMUNITIES THAT
WE GREW UP IN, YOU KNOW, DIFFICULT TO
GET A SUMMER JOB. YOU DON’T HAVE
THAT SOCIAL CAPITAL. RIGHT? AS I WENT TO
COLLEGE, A BUDDY CALLS YOU, I HAVE
A JOB OPENING HERE. I HAVE THIS. I HAVE THAT. YOU HAVE A LOT OF
COMMUNITIES WHERE YOU DON’T HAVE
THAT. SO WE NEED TO DO
SOMETHING. A LOT OF OUR
RESOURCES GO TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T
NEED IT. SO BEYOND HOUSING,
WHAT WE’RE DOING IS WE’RE CREATING
ECONOMIC ENGINES. A LOT OF OUR
DEVELOPMENTS, WE HAVE JOB
INCUBATORS AND BUSINESS
INCUBATORS. WE TEACH PEOPLE
HOW TO CREATE THEIR OWN
BUSINESS, HOW TO CREATE FOR
THEMSELVES BECAUSE THAT’S HOW YOU
RAISE PEOPLE, THROUGH EDUCATION. AND EVERYONE’S NOT
GOING TO GO TO COLLEGE BUT THEY
CAN MAKE MONEY OPENING UP A STORE
OR LEARNING A TRADE. SO I THINK THERE
ARE OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO BESIDES
RELY ON GOVERNMENT.>>BUT THAT
LONGITUDINAL STUDY, YOU KNOW,
SPEAKS TO THE IMPORTANCE OF NOT
ONLY RACIAL INTEGRATION AND
SCHOOLS IN PARTICULAR BUT
ECONOMIC INTEGRATION.>>PARTLY THE
PURPOSE OF MIH.>>WE ALSO HAVE A
VERY DIFFERENT PATTERNS OF UPWARD
MOBILITIES THAT WE DID IN THE ’40s
AND ’50s.>>I WANT TO GET
ANOTHER QUESTION IN, PLEASE.>>HELLO. MY QUESTION IS I’M
RIGHT NOW COMPILING THIS FOR
VIOLATIONS AND REPORTS IN HARLEM. MY QUESTION IS
WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT DOING
ABOUT BUILDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING
AND THE AVERAGE AMERICAN?>>I’M NOT SURE I
UNDERSTOOD THE QUESTION. REPEAT IT, PLEASE?>>WHAT’S THE
GOVERNMENT DOING ABOUT BUILDING
AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND MAKING IT
ACCEPTABLE FOR AVERAGE AMERICANS?>>WE HAVE A
VESTED INTEREST NOT ONLY IN
AFFORDABILITY BUT ALSO QUALITY. SO HERE IN NEW
YORK CITY, I WOULD ARGUE WE HAVE ONE
OF THE BEST SYSTEMS OF CODE
ENFORCEMENT. AND IF YOU HAVE A
CONDITION IN YOUR APARTMENT, YOU CAN
CALL 311, HPD WILL SEND AN INSPECTOR. WE HAVE ARMIES OF
INSPECTORS. AND WE’RE PRETTY
EFFECTIVE. WE HAVE A RANGE OF
PROGRAMS AT IMPROVING THE
HABITABILITY OF OUR HOUSING STAFF.>>WE DO HAVE A
GREAT NUMBER OF THEM. THEY COULD — I
THINK IF THEY WERE EXPANDED, I MEAN,
IF THEY WERE EXPANDED, IT WOULD
ACTUALLY HELP THE HOUSING
PRESERVATION AS WELL.>>YES, MA’AM. WANT TO TRY TO GET
ONE LAST QUESTION IT.>>HI, I GO TO JOHN
JAY COLLEGE. WILL GOVERNOR
CUOMO REALLY ALLOW MAYOR DE BLASIO TO
HAVE SUCCESS IN THE CREATION OF
AFFORDABLE HOUSING?>>WELL, THIS
IS — YOU KNOW, THIS IS KIND OF —
WE HAVE ABOUT THREE MINUTES. LET’S HAVE SOME
FUN.>>THERE ARE THREE
SENSES IN WHICH THE GOVERNOR HAS
POLITICIZED AFFORDABLE HOUSING
TO A LEVEL WE’VE NEVER SEEN. FIRST IS NEW YORK
AGREEMENT FOR SUPPORTIVE
HOUSING, WHICH IS THE MOST EXPENSIVE
TO BUILD BECAUSE IT’S AFFORDABLE
HOUSING INTEGRATED WITH SOCIAL
SERVICES. SECOND,
POLITICIZATION OF 421A AND THIRD
HE’S POLITICIZING BOND FINANCING. UNDER THE
GOVERNOR’S BUDGET, THE EMPIRE STATE
DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY WHICH IS
CONTROLLED BY THE GOVERNOR WOULD
DETERMINE THE CITY’S ALLOCATION
OF BOND FINANCING. AND IN EVERY BOND
TRANSACTION WHICH COULD BE DECIDED
BY THE CITY WOULD BE SUBJECT TO
STATE APPROVAL. THE WHOLE PROCESS
HAS BEEN POLITICIZED.>>WELL, I MEAN,
THIS IS NOT ONLY, YOU KNOW,
EVERYTHING FROM CONTROL OF CUNY
TO, YOU KNOW, CONTROL OF THE
MTA.>>THE MAYOR MIGHT
BE MORE POPULAR THAN CUNY TO THE
GOVERNOR.>>WHEN YOU LOOK
AT THE 421A, THE FAILURE TO RENEW
421A, YOU ESSENTIALLY HAD —
THEY’VE KIND OF SUBCONTRACTED THIS
WHOLE ISSUE OUT TO THE REAL ESTATE
BOARD OF NEW YORK AND THE BUILDING
TRADES COUNCIL AND SAID YOU WORK IT
OUT. YOU KNOW, I DON’T
QUITE UNDERSTAND WHY THE
LEGISLATURE CAN’T SAY THIS IS WHAT
WE WANT TO HAPPEN. BECAUSE IT IS
THEIR JOB.>>WELL, I DON’T
THINK THEY WANT TO OFFEND EITHER
GROUP.>>RIGHT.>>I THINK
ULTIMATELY, BELIEVE IT OR NOT,
YOU KNOW, THERE’S SORT OF A SILVER
LINING IN THESE CLOUDS OF DESPAIR
BECAUSE MORE PEOPLE ARE PAYING
ATTENTION TO THIS 421A. MY KIDS ASK ME,
DADDY, WHAT’S ALL THIS MIH? THEY THINK IT’S
SOME SECRET SERVICE, RIGHT? BECAUSE EVERYONE’S
TALKING ABOUT IT. ANYWAY. THAT’S BRITISH.>>THAT’S MI-6.>>WE SHOULD
RENAME IS MI-6.>>JAMES BOND. YOU HAVE PEOPLE
PAYING ATTENTION. AND I WILL CONTEND
THAT YOU’LL HAVE MORE SUPPORT — WE
WORK WELL WITH THE SANDBOX WITH THE
GOVERNOR AND THE MAYOR. I HAVE TO SAY THAT
BECAUSE I’M A DEVELOPER, RIGHT? I GET SUPPORT FROM
BOTH. AND I THINK WHAT
YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE IS YOU’RE
GOING TO HAVE A COMING TOGETHER OF
LIKE MINDS, AND YOU’RE GOING TO
GET MORE SUPPORT FOR HOMELESSNESS,
FOR SUPPORTIVE HOUSING, AND FOR
JUST, YOU KNOW, HOUSING IN GENERAL
BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE PAYING ATTENTION.>>THAT’S THE
IRONY IS THEY ACTUALLY MIGHT
HAVE FOR OUT OF THE PSYCHODRAMA,
THERE MIGHT COME TWO HOUSING PLANS
AND GREATER INVESTMENT AND
SUPPORTIVE HOUSING. THAT COULD BE AN
UNPREDICTABLE CONSEQUENCE.>>THAT’S THE KIND
OF COMPETITION WE LIKE TO SEE.>>ARE YOU
OPTIMISTIC AT ALL ABOUT THAT? BECAUSE I’M A
LITTLE — I’M NOT PARTICULARLY —
AND I WORRY — I ALSO WORRY THAT
WE’RE NOT NECESSARILY
KEEPING AN EYE ON MAKING SURE THAT
THIS REALLY DOES STAY PERMANENTLY
AFFORDABLE OVER THE LONG TERM.>>YOU WERE
INVOLVED IN THAT DEAL. SO WE HAVE
INCLUSIONARY HOUSING, PERMANENT
AFFORDABILITY. BEYOND THAT, 33%
LOW-INCOME, 33% MIDDLE, ALL
AFFORDABLE, RIGHT? AND WE HAVE STAYED
IN THE CITY PLAYING IN THE
SAME SANDBOX ON MY DEAL. IT’S HAPPENING. I’M NOT THE GREAT PEACEMAKER. IT’S JUST
HAPPENING. PEOPLE POLITICIZE
THINGS AND IT’S GOOD TO SAY
THERE’S A FEW BUT PEOPLE ARE WORKING
TOGETHER. AND I BELIEVE IN
THE CITY. I’M BULLISH ON THE
CITY AND THE STATE.>>WE ONLY HAVE A
LITTLE BIT OF TIME LEFT. IF YOU CAN TAKE
THAT COMMITMENT AND DIRECT IT,
MAYBE WE’LL MAKE PROGRESS. I’M RUNNING OVER. I ALWAYS MAKE
DEADLINES. THANK YOU ALL. WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT
TIME ON THE CUNY FORUM.

3 thoughts on “Housing and the Affordability Crisis in NY | CUNY Forum

  1. They're making sure that so called black PEOPLE don't have decent living don't be fooled by this it's 100 % RACIST motivated TRUST NO ONE QUESTION EVERYTHING

  2. That's EXACTLY why you don't see programs like this in 2019 because there's something sneaky going on in Congress about making sure so called black PEOPLE don't get a decent living

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