Building off the death of 421-a
Jan 20, 2016 | 16398 views | 0 0 comments | 823 823 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While both Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio lament the loss of the 421-a program, the tax break that is intended to pave the way for affordable housing, it's now the time to focus on the silver linings and ask: whom did the program really help?

Communities struggling with affordability were certainly not the direct benefactors of the plan. A developer is given a lucrative tax break, they meet their minimum affordability threshold and in turn, build condo units that blow the market rate out of the water. That in turn, pulls up the “area median income, which is the formula the city uses to determine what qualifies as “affordable.”

That was a common theme last year, as the de Blasio administration touted their affordable housing program, but affordable for who?

In Prospect Lefferts Gardens, protestors rallied outside a new condo development on Flatbush Avenue that was built using the 421-a program, where they said nobody in the community could actually afford any of the affordable units.

The program has always been a sneaky agent for gentrification, and now the community is starting to realize that.

With the lapse in the program, there's still a big problem. It's unclear, moving forward, how the city will meet it's lofty goals for affordable housing. But now there's a full chance to address any potential future plan and make it work more for the citizens of New York City and less for the billion-dollar development companies of New York City.

The business of making the city affordable shouldn't result in longstanding community members leaving there homes.

What the city should do is examine the formulas they're using. If they still wan't to give billionaires an incentive tax break, increase the amount of minimum affordable units and require that a much larger percentage than the 50 percent minimum of residents from that community get first crack at the housing.

They also need to change how the calculate affordability by using an area median income based on the immediate neighborhood, not an AMI that factors in the entire tristate area.

Obviously the City has the come up with a new plan, but the death of 421-a gives them a chance to make the plan fair for all.
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