News

New York City Council Backs Affordable Housing Plan


New York Times
March 15, 2016

A proposal by Mayor Bill de Blasio to rezone parts of the city to build more housing cleared its most important hurdle on Monday, emerging from aCity Council meeting with enough revisions to satisfy major critics and city lawmakers who had opposed the plan for not doing enough to provide housing for the poorest New Yorkers.

--

Housing Deal is a Major Victory for Real Affordability for All

Real Affordability for All, a coalition representing many thousands of New Yorkers, released the following statement about the deal between Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Council to increase affordability in new housing built in rezoned neighborhoods. Read the full statement

--

Even People Who Earn $100K a Year Fear They'll be Priced Out of New York

DNAInfoFebruary 25, 2016

NEW YORK CITY — A majority of New Yorkers who earn more than $100,000 a year feel they're likely to be priced out of their neighborhood, according to a new poll.

An NY1/Baruch College poll showed that affordable housing was the most important issue to New Yorkers, with 20 percent of those polled ranking it ahead of crime, jobs and the economy.--

Hundreds Of Protesters Rally Against De Blasio's Affordable Housing Plan

Gothamist
February 24, 2016

Nearly one thousand New Yorkers gathered near City Hall on Tuesday morning to protest Mayor de Blasio's controversial affordable housing plan. Low-income tenants from across the city spoke out against the plan's legal cornerstones, Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) and Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA), which would require developers building in certain areas to set aside at least a quarter of new apartments at below-market rates, and allow developers to build taller if they include senior housing, among other things. The housing that gets built as a result, activists argued, would be out of reach for the lowest-income New Yorkers, and they say the plan as written is a giveaway for developers.


--

New Yorkers Rally for Affordable Housing

Wall Street Journal
February 23, 2016


New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says his affordable-housing plan would ease the burden for the middle- and low-income residents he vowed to help during his 2013 campaign.

Some of those New Yorkers, though, say much of the housing to be created is far beyond the reach of the city’s poorest. About 500 people gathered Tuesday outside City Hall to express their concern, with signs that read, among other things, “Affordable for Whom?”

“The kind of rent they expect low-income people to be able to pay, it just isn’t realistic,” Brenda Alleyne, 71, a retired CUNY administrator who lives in the East New York area of Brooklyn, said at the rally. “There’s fear."


--

Groups Promise Civil Disobedience if Mayor's Zoning Plan Isn't Changed

DNA Info
February 23, 2016

CITY HALL — Groups protesting Mayor Bill de Blasio's affordable housing plan say they will perform acts of civil disobedience if changes aren't made to make the proposal helpful to more low income New Yorkers.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside City Hall on Broadway Tuesday to once again protest de Blasio's plan to create or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing and said they would plan acts of civil disobedience in the same location on Wednesday, March 9.


--

Bill de Blasio housing plan target of City Hall protest

Newsday
February 23, 2016

Opponents to parts of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing plan held a rally in the rain Tuesday to denounce what they said were rents that would be too high for the poorest New Yorkers.

They also continued to criticize his failure to require union construction labor.

--

Clergy leaders sign letter opposing Mayor de Blasio's affordable housing plan

New York Daily News
February 18, 2016

Dozens of faith leaders — including six on the mayor’s Clergy Advisory Council — say their congregants will be living on a prayer and not much else if Mayor de Blasio doesn’t change his affordable housing plan.

Some 79 clergy leaders signed a letter opposing the plan, saying it doesn’t do enough to guarantee housing for the city’s most vulnerable.

Unions, Housing Activists Begin Push to Sway New York City Council on Zoning Proposals

City and State
February 18, 2016

Now that New York City Council members have had a chance to recover from the more than 20 hours of public testimony given on zoning proposals last week, unions and activists are beginning to push their preferences in private. 
Both affordable housing advocates and a construction union trade group are promoting a third zoning proposal they said would ensure low-income residents are housed and workers are well-paid when developers benefit the most from building larger residences.  City Councilman I. Daneek Miller’s office is scheduled to host a City Council member briefing Thursday, where the Real Affordability for All Coalition is expected to explain how it would like to see the zoning template carve out protections for lower-income families. And the Greater New York Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust is slated to launch a public campaign to add training and safety standards to the zoning text as well.
--

[CLIP] Debating Mayor de Blasio's Affordable Housing Plans

WNYC
February 11, 2016

Maritza Silva-Farrell, campaign director for Align and the coalition Real Affordability for All, appeared on the Brian Lehrer show to discuss Mayor de Blasio's affordable housing plan, which she says doesn't address the needs of low-income New Yorkers. Farrell debated the plan with Chris Widelo with the AARP, who said the plan is necessary for aging New Yorkers. Listen to the segment online.

--

At Hearings, City Council to Examine Mayor's Zoning Proposals

Gotham Gazette
February 9, 2016

Amid light flakes of snow, about 20 ralliers stood outside City Hall Monday morning and unleashed a flurry of criticism of a key piece of Mayor Bill de Blasio's affordable housing plan. De Blasio's plan to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing relies in part on proposed changes to the city's land use rules, which are set to go before City Council review this week.

Members of the Real Affordability for All coalition, including construction union members, low-wage workers, and community organizers, believe that the mayor's plan to change the city's zoning codes do not account for enough affordable units for those at the lowest end of the income spectrum. They also want to see provisions for union labor in the development of affordable housing across New York City.

--

[OP-ED] Real Affordable Housing for Our Communities

Gotham Gazette
February 9, 2016

When I think about my family's future in New York City, I wonder: will there be an affordable, safe, and healthy apartment where I can raise my children and still be able to provide them with everything else that they need?

This is the question that our city government has to address if it wants to protect low-income and working class New Yorkers.

My husband and I live in Bushwick in a one-bedroom apartment with our three children—one of whom has special needs—and my sister. We pay more than $1,200 per month—more than half of our income, which comes from my husband's job in a fruit and vegetable store. For the last two years, we've been looking to find somewhere better—somewhere more affordable, with more space for our children. Our landlord wants us out, too, because he wants to renovate and charge new tenants more as Bushwick gentrifies.

--

Deputy mayor floats compromise on affordable-housing plan

CRAINS New York
February 8, 2016

Amid criticism that its affordable housing plan will produce apartments too expensive for the poor, the de Blasio administration has offered a glimpse of a potential compromise to guarantee more low-income units.

But absent more subsidies, it could come at a cost: fewer units for working-class families in certain income tiers.

--

EXCLUSIVE: NYC Council’s progressive group seeks changes to de Blasio’s housing plan

New York Daily News
February 8, 2016

The City Council’s progressive caucus is pushing for changes to Mayor de Blasio’s ambitious but controversial affordable-housing plan.

Apartments should be offered for people making less than the average 60% of area median income — $46,620 for a family of three — currently targeted in the plan, says the 18-member group, which represents about a third of the Council.

--

[VIDEO] Exigen poder optar a vivienda asequible

NY1 Noticias
February 8, 2016

Los trabajadores con bajos ingresos de la ciudad solicitan al Alcalde que cambie la normativa de su plan de vivienda municipal para poder optar a un hogar asequible. Krizia Ruiz está en la Alcaldía y nos cuenta más detalles.

--

Ahead of Council vote, mayor’s allies organize in defense of housing agenda

POLITICO New York
February 8, 2016

As Mayor Bill de Blasio's controversial housing plans come before the City Council this week, his union allies are joining forces with the AARP and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to form an organization that will push for the mayor's proposals.

The group, United For Affordable NYC, is being incorporated with city and state agencies as a 501(c)4, lead strategist Neal Kwatra told POLITICO New York.
El Diario
February 8, 2016

Nueva York - Berta Chacón trabaja 14 horas diarias, pero dice que no le alcanza para vivir dignamente. “Yo vivo con 10 personas en un departamento de tres habitaciones”, comentó esta salvadoreña que labora en un salón de belleza. “Mi realidad es esa, pero hay personas que están en una situación peor”.

Chacón estuvo esta mañana en las escalinatas de la Alcaldía para protestar, junto a activistas y trabajadores de salario mínimo, contra las propuestas de vivienda asequible del alcalde Bill de Blasio. “Nosotros necesitamos realmente una vivienda digna para poder seguir viviendo en esta ciudad”, comentó Chacón.
A group of low-wage workers hit Mayor de Blasio’s affordable housing plan Monday, as top administration officials defended the plan.

The workers said they can’t afford the homes in the plan — targeted at people making an average of at least 60% of the median income, or $46,620 for a family of three.

“We have people who can’t make that much. We need dignified housing to be able to keep living in this city,” said Berta Chacon, a hair salon worker who makes $15 an hour, speaking at a City Hall rally organized by the union-backed group Real Affordability for All. “We are living badly — we live five, six people in a room because we don’t make enough.”

--

Letitia James and Scott Stringer Join Unions in Ripping Bill de Blasio’s Housing Plan

The Observer
January 27, 2016

Public Advocate Letitia James and Comptroller Scott Stringer joined community groups and organized labor to lambaste Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing plan from two sides today—claiming it excludes both the lowest income New Yorkers and construction unions.

The pair cited a report by the union-led coalition Real Affordability for All that showed 84 percent of the “affordable” housing built in Mr. de Blasio’s first two years in office was allocated to people making between 51 and 180 percent of the area median income of the New York metro area—that is, between $43,000 and $155,000 a year for a family of four. This, they argued, was little different from the ratios produced under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and failed to create apartments for the poorest New Yorkers.

--

EXCLUSIVE: Study finds Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan is worse than Michael Bloomberg’s in offering homes for poorest

New York Daily News
January 27, 2016

Mayor de Blasio's affordable housing plan allocates fewer units for the poorest households in the city than Michael Bloomberg’s did, according to a new study — frustrating advocates who say they supported him because he promised to help the neediest.

De Blasio’s 10-year plan to add 200,000 units of affordable housing kicked off with close to 40,000 units in 2014 and 2015, its first two years in implementation.

--
DNAInfo
January 28, 2016

CITY HALL — Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to create or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over 10 years doesn't do enough to help the city's poorest residents, Public Advocate Letitia James and Comptroller Scott Stringer said.

James and Stringer, the two only other citywide elected officials besides the mayor, joined with the group Real Affordability for All outside of City Hall Wednesday to call on the mayor to change the income guidelines for the housing being built.

--

Acusan a De Blasio de no generar suficientes viviendas para bajos ingresos

El Diario
January 27, 2016

Nueva York — Activistas por la vivienda asequible llegaron el miércoles a la Alcaldía para protestar contra el alcalde Bill de Blasio y lo acusaron de no generar suficientes hogares para las personas más necesitadas. De acuerdo a cifras que la campaña Real Affordability for All entregó, en dos años De Blasio generó 2,000 viviendas para quienes ganan como máximo un 30% del ingreso medio. Bloomberg, por su parte, hizo 1,389.

“De Blasio puede haber hecho su campaña para alcalde como el anti-Bloomberg, pero con el actual plan de vivienda, está continuando la agenda de Bloomberg en la que se ignoraron las necesidades de los neoyorquinos que están a punto de ser desamparados”, dijo Maritza Silva-Farrell, directora de Real Affordability for All.

--

Pols, Housing Advocates Call on De Blasio to Revamp Affordable Housing Plan

City and State
January 27, 2016

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James and Building and Construction Trades Council President Gary LaBarbera joined a few dozen people at City Hall Wednesday to call on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration to revamp its housing agenda. The group claimed, to date, de Blasio’s plan has targeted fewer low-income residents than former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan – an assertion disputed by City Hall.

Real Affordability for All, a coalition of affordable housing advocates, community groups and construction unions, indicated that de Blasio has done little to improve on the record of the previous administration. The group claimed that 5 percent of the 40,000 affordable housing units de Blasio said he’s built or preserved are slated for families earning 30 percent or less of the area median income – a measure of income in the broader metropolitan area – a marginal improvement from 4 percent under Bloomberg. Technically, the 40,000 figure cited by RAFA refers to how many units the administration has secured financing to build or preserve.

--

De Blasio Affordable Housing Plan Not Affordable Enough: Activists

DNAInfo
December 15, 2015

CITY HALL — Mayor Bill de Blasio's affordable housing rezoning plan does not provide enough affordability for people who actually live in the affected neighborhoods, housing activists said in front of City Hall Tuesday.

"The plan is not going to benefit anyone from our coalition, low-income and moderate income people, in every neighborhood that will be rezoned," said Maritza Silva-Farrell, campaign director for the group Real Affordability for All.

--

New coalition to launch campaign-style tactics against Airbnb

New York Daily News
November 11, 2015


The ongoing battles between the hotel industry and Airbnb are about to get even more vicious.

The Hotel Trades Union — which has been leading the charge — will be launching fresh campaign-style tactics against the site with a new coalition in the coming weeks.

That alliance includes organizing muscle from the Working Families Party, the housing groups Real Affordability for All, and New York Communities for Change.

--

Affordable Housing Developers 'Rob' Workers and Tenants, Protesters Say

DNA Info
November 5, 2015

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A coalition of activists called on the city’s developers Wednesday to employ better practices at non-union construction sites, demanding better worker wages and “real” affordable rents for tenants.

Local residents and members of the affordable housing advocacy group Real Affordability For All gathered at a Bed-Stuy construction site to protest what they saw as low-paying jobs and low-quality housing that is running rampant throughout the city.


--
The Gothamist
November 5, 2015

The city's system for building affordable housing is rife with labor abuses and corruption, and the mayor's goal of having developers build 80,000 more below-market units over the next 19 years runs the risk of perpetuating those problems and leaving behind housing that's out of reach for many current residents, according to a report [pdf] by a coalition of several dozen activist and union groups. Workers with Real Affordability for All walked off the job at an affordable housing construction site at 27 Albany Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant on Wednesday afternoon, claiming wage theft and safety violations, and protesters with the group later picketed a gala of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing [NYSAFAH], a lobbying group whose members depend on city cash.

--

Anti-Gentrification Group Crashes Developer Gala at Yale Club

The Brownstoner
November 5, 2015


The affordable housing industry is robbing New York City, according to a local activist group which crashed a developer gala Wednesday at Manhattan’s ritzy Yale Club.

Anti-gentrification coalition Real Affordability for All, whose office is on Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill, released a report hours before Wednesday’s event accusing real estate bigwigs of manipulating taxpayer’s dollars, abusing workers, committing wage theft (which it claimed was documented by the New York State Attorney General), and building affordable units that are not, in fact, affordable.

The biggest offender, according to Real Affordability, is Wednesday’s gala host The New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH). Supposedly, according to the report, affordable housing industry projects under the oversight of NYSAFAH have stolen nearly $20,000,000 in wages from workers since 2010.

--

EXCLUSIVE: Survey shows some NYC affordable housing tenants still pay high rent

New York Daily News
November 4, 2015


Sometimes affordable housing isn't so affordable.

Nearly half of the affordable apartment tenants in a new survey say they're now spending more than 30% of their income on rent — a level considered “rent-burdened.”

A stunning 14% say they're spending more than 50% of their income on rent, which makes them "severely rent-burdened.”

The findings emerge in a report to be released Wednesday by the housing advocates Real Affordability for All.

--

De Blasio mugged by reality on housing — again

New York Post
September 27, 2015

Bill de Blasio won City Hall by attacking Mayor Michael Bloom­berg on housing. Two years later, as Ed Koch might say, how’s he doing?

Well, de Blasio’s real-life housing plan looks like Bloomberg’s: It’s focused on middle-class housing. That’s because the realities of building housing in this city just don’t support new housing for poor people — whether you’re a radical leftist or a billionaire pragmatist.


--

Housing activists blast union report on affordable housing

New York Post
September 24, 2015

A top housing trade association is accusing a powerful union-backed anti-poverty lobbying group of issuing a bogus report critical of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to rezone East New York in Brooklyn, alleging the group’s main mission is seeking millions of dollars in subsidies to fund higher union wages under the guise of fighting for the poor.

Real Affordability For All issued a report Monday alleging de Blasio’s “mandatory inclusionary zoning” plans for East New York and other targeted neighborhoods — which would require developers for the first time to set aside 25 percent of units for low-income residents — wouldn’t benefit those struggling areas as promised.


--

East New York zoning pushed by Mayor de Blasio would require affordable housing, but questions remain

Business Journal New York
September 22, 2015

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has released new zoning rules that will first affect East New York in Brooklyn.

Adding affordable housing stock is a major policy pillar of de Blasio’s term, and he’s pledged to add 80,000 new affordable units by the end of 2024. This push, which is still at least six months away from a City Council vote, would require developers to include affordable housing instead of requiring it only if they receive help from the city, the New York Times reported. Builders would have to set aside from 25 percent to 30 percent of units depending on the levels of income the project will accommodate, the report added.


--
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his 10-year approach to fixing New York City's ailing public housing authority in an appearance Tuesday at the at Johnson Houses Community Center in Harlem. The plan will call for exploring the development of underused housing sites with mixed-income development. In the plan, half of any new residential units would be for low-income families. The New York City Housing Authority has an annual budget of about $3 billion and provides housing for more than 400,000 residents.

Housing advocates are planning to stop the afternoon meeting of Department of City Planning committee to discuss the "rezoning of low- income neighborhoods across the city" as part the $41 billion affordable housing plan by Mayor de Blasio.

According to gothamist.com, Real Affordability For All (RAFA), a coalition of more than 50affordable housing activist groups, said "New housing under de Blasio's rezoning plan will go to wealthier, whiter outsiders: people who do not live in neighborhoods like East New York and the South Bronx."

--

Affordable Housing Group Blasts East New York Rezoning Plans

Curbed NY
September 22, 2015

On Monday, the city rolled out its official plans for rezoning East New York, which has been eyed as the locus for Mayor de Blasio's ambitious $10 billion affordable housing initiative, Housing New York, practically since it was announced in May 2014. In addition to bringing new parks, bike lanes, and a 1,000-seat school to the neighborhood, the administration wants to implement mandatory inclusionary zoning, which would require all developers looking to build within its boundaries to set aside at least 25-percent of apartments as affordable. The plan has its fair share of detractors: community group Real Affordability For All lambasts the program as a failure for those who most need it. "Most residents in low-income neighborhoods like East New York and the South Bronx, which are slated for increased density and rezoning within the next year, will not benefit from new housing created under de Blasio's current plan," a report released in sync with the administration's announcement reads. "New housing promoted as affordable in these areas will be too expensive and out of reach for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who live there."


--
The Brownstoner
September 21, 2015

Real Affordability for All — a low-income advocacy group and de Blasio ally — has released a new report critiquing the mayor’s rezoning and affordable housing plan (PDF) for East New York. The 13-page report asserts that de Blasio’s plan fails to address job inequality and will not assist East New York’s neediest residents, but will in fact lead to the “whitening” and further displacement of the neighborhood.

Made of a coalition of close to 50 tenant groups and community organizations, Real Affordability for All suggests that de Blasio’s rezoning plans incentivize developers to promote gentrification in East New York. Thus, the group believes, de Blasio’s mandatory inclusionary zoning plans will “fail to address the affordability crisis,” doing more harm than good in neighborhoods like East New York.

--

Planning commission certifies rezoning plans

Capital New York
September 21, 2014

The de Blasio administration on Monday formally began the process of changing city zoning rules in an effort to build more low-income housing.

After a series presentations from staffers at the Department of City Planning's office in Lower Manhattan, the planning commission certified three proposals that will eventually need City Council approval. Before that, the proposals are subject to advisory recommendations from community boards and the five borough presidents.

One plan entails rezoning East New York — one of the poorest and most blighted neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Another, called mandatory inclusionary housing, would require low-income apartments from developers who build in rezoned areas. A third, referred to as zoning for quality and affordability, would make several citywide zoning changes, including allowing slightly taller buildings in certain residential districts and eliminating parking lot requirements in other areas to free up space for new apartments. (The additional height could only be used for higher ground-floor ceilings.)


--

New York Zoning Plan Requires More Affordable Homes

The New York Times
September 21, 2015

Developers who want to build in certain areas of New York City would be required for the first time to set aside at least 25 percent of their units for lower-income residents under proposed zoning rules officially released Monday by the de Blasio administration.

The requirement, known as mandatory inclusionary housing, would first be applied to East New York in Brooklyn, one of 15 areas the city has singled out for taller buildings and more density to help meet the mayor’s goal of adding 80,000 new affordable units to the city through 2024.

The city also rolled out plans to beautify streets, build schools, improve parks and bring more stores and businesses into East New York, where significant new construction is scheduled. Some residents there and in other neighborhoods have expressed wariness about the coming changes, and city officials hope the improved services will ease their concerns.


The Gothamist
September 21, 2015

Housing advocates say they are planning to disrupt a Department of City Planning committee meeting this afternoon—the first of many that will address the rezoning of low-income neighborhoods across the city, as part of de Blasio's $41 billion affordable housing plan.

"New housing under de Blasio's rezoning plan will go to wealthier, whiter outsiders: people who do not live in neighborhoods like East New York and the South Bronx," said Real Affordability For All (RAFA), a coalition of more than 50 affordable housing activist groups across the five boroughs.

East New York is the first of fifteen low-income neighborhoods scheduled to be rezoned as part of de Blasio's plan. In February, the mayor released an initial blueprint for rezoning in East New York's Cypress Hills neighborhood and adjacent Ocean Hill in Bed-Stuy, which calls for the construction of 7,000 new apartments by 2030, plus an additional one million new square feet of commercial space.


--

With eye on affordable housing, City Hall to begin rezonings

Politico New York
September 21, 2015

A set of proposals intended to preserve the character of certain New York City neighborhoods, expand the number of apartments forlow-income earners and drastically alter the landscape of one of Brooklyn's most blighted areas will kick off Monday afternoon.

The Department of City Planning has scheduled a meeting at its Lower Manhattan office to certify the three plans, all of which require advisory input from community boards and borough presidents as well as approval from the City Council.

Each proposed change in the city's arcane zoning text faces its own hurdles as Mayor Bill de Blasio seeks to convince residents and elected officials he will improve their neighborhoods without destroying their character or making them less hospitable to current locals.
--

Activists Criticize Rezoning Plan for East New York

Real Affordability for All argues many of the Brooklyn neighborhood’s residents won’t be able to afford the proposed apartments

Wall Street Journal
September 20, 2015

Anti-poverty activists allied with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are sharply criticizing his plan to rezone East New York, a low-income neighborhood at the heart of his affordable-housing initiative.

Real Affordability for All, a coalition of tenant groups and unions, says many who live in the Brooklyn neighborhood won’t be able to afford the 1,200 apartments the city proposes to build there over the next two years.

The group is expected to release a report condemning the mayor’s approach to rezoning on Monday, the same day the city planning commission is expected to approve the administration’s proposal to require 25% to 30% of all new units to be affordable through mandatory inclusionary zoning. This policy requires developers to build the affordable units in exchange for being allowed to build taller buildings or changing the use from commercial to residential.


--

Statement from Housing Advocates: The Approved Rent Laws Deal is A Huge Loss for Low and Moderate- Income Tenants

Real Affordability for All, a coalition of close to 50 organizations committed to push for affordable housing is expressing complete disappointment about the rent laws deal approved last week.

“This deal is very bad for tenants, good for corruption and a step further to eliminating the largest source of affordable housing in the state,” said Maritza Silva-Farrell, spokesperson from Real Affordability for All.

Read more.


--

Tenant Advocates Call Out Governor




TWC News
June 23, 2015

Tenant advocates are less than thrilled with the tentative agreement on New York City's rent laws. And they are blaming the governor for not doing more. Executive Director of the Met Council, Ava Farkas, and Judith Goldiner from Legal Aid joined us to talk about Tuesday's developments.

Watch the full video.

--

Astoria Cove project gets final approval 

New York Daily News
November 25, 2014

The controversial Astoria Cove project on the Queens waterfront got final approval Tuesday from the City Council.

The Council voted unanimously to allow the 1700-apartment development, where 27% of the units will be affordable.

“The lack of real affordability at Astoria Cove is a major step backward, not forward, for the entire city. It’s the opposite of progress,” said Maritza Silva-Farrell of the group Real Affordability for All.“If future developments follow the example of Astoria Cove, more New Yorkers will be priced out of the city, and more neighborhoods will be auctioned off to the wealthy elite.”

The Observer
November 25, 2014

On the left, Astoria Cove has its critics, too. Real Affordability for All, a collective of more than 50 activist groups like New York Communities for Change and Make the Road New York, blasted the agreement for not including enough affordable housing. Even though Astoria Cove, by definition, is historic, the development will still be more than 70 percent market rate as rents continue to skyrocket in Queens.

New York Daily News
September 29, 2014

A de Blasio spokesman declined to comment ahead of Monday’s vote, but referred to comments by Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen last week where she said that while de Blasio’s “mandatory inclusionary housing” policy would set a minimum requirement for affordable housing, higher levels of affordability could be achieved through tax subsidies or financing programs.

“If you could get 15 or 20 percent of the units in your building through mandatory inclusionary, you could still access additional programs to get to 30 percent, 40 percent, even 50 percent,” she said. “But just calling for a plain old 50-50 and you must do it, I think is counterproductive.”


--

How NYC Can Solve Its Affordable Housing Crisis

Gothamist
April 23, 2014

The Real Affordability For All coalition, an alliance of city housing and community organizations, has urged the city to require that at least half the apartments in tax-subsidized new buildings be affordable.

In higher-cost areas, particularly Manhattan, half could be reserved for low-income households, $24,000 to $48,000 for a family of four. In the outer boroughs and upper Manhattan, apartments would be split 50-50 between low-income households and those making up to around $80,000. (The city's 421a program, a '70s-vintage tax break intended to encourage construction, is notorious for subsidizing luxury housing: The Avalon Fort Greene, a downtown Brooklyn building that opened in 2009, got $22 million in tax abatements. Studios there currently start at $2,385.)

The coalition has also urged putting more money into sustaining public housing; promoting nonprofit development; subsidizing rents for low-wage workers; allowing taller buildings on undeveloped land in low-income neighborhoods like East New York and the South Bronx; and giving low-cost loans and tax incentives to help owners maintain their properties if they keep rents down. Tomorrow the group is rallying on the steps of City Hall at noon to push the mayor to adopt their proposals.

--

Astoria Cove Puts Freshman Council Member in Spotlight

Commercial Observer
July 29, 2014

Rather, the number of affordable units on the site has represented the most contentious issue of the rezoning negotiations thus far. The Real Affordability for All Coalition, a group of almost 50 advocates and unions, is calling for at least 50 percent of the new housing to be affordable, a level that Mr. Weiss says would make the project unfeasible for the developers. But the coalition, whose members contend that the site’s potential 421-a tax abatement would allow the developer to pay for the affordable units, is making its presence known at each stage of the rezoning, such as a recent press conference where Mr. Constantinides appeared alongside the leaders of the movement.

“I get the sense that he has the same goal that we do–to keep the Astoria area intact,” said Jaron Benjamin, executive director of the Metropolitan Council on Housing. “If you’re going to build affordable housing with tax breaks then we need to get as much out of this as possible.”

--

Queens builders beat mayor to affordable punch

Crain’s New York
July 29, 2014

"Astoria Cove should be a model for how city government works with the community, local residents and other stakeholders to achieve this new standard of 50% real affordability," said the letter, which was signed by Real Affordability for All, a coalition of housing groups that includes the Met Council on Housing and Make the Road New York.

The letter contends that affordable housing needs to occupy a greater percentage of all large-scale projects in order to meet Mayor Bill de Blasio's goal of 80,000 new and 120,000 preserved affordable units. And furthermore, it contends that Alma Realty stands to reap "a massive windfall" from the rezoning and could easily tweak the financials of the projects to make it work.

--

Unions, Activists Align on Affordable Housing

Wall Street Journal
August 19, 2014

"The affordable housing community and the trades have not come together in any major way. That's why we sought out this opportunity to be on the same page," said Jonathan Westin, director of New York Communities for Change, a community-organizing group.

In a call for their now mutually beneficial goals, union leaders will demonstrate on Wednesday in Harlem alongside the Real Affordability for All Coalition, which includes about 50 tenants groups and antipoverty advocates, many of whom are allies of the mayor.