Affordable & Supportive Housing and Senior Housing Subsidy Included in One-House Budget, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz Announces

March 15, 2017

The Assembly’s newly-released one-house budget proposal for State Fiscal Year 2017-18 provides a plan for the investment of $2.5 billion in funding for supportive and affordable housing and a new rental assistance program for low-income seniors in New York City funded by a 2.5 percent tax on multi-million dollar real estate transactions, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), Chair of the Housing Committee, announced today.

“The severe shortage of affordable housing for low-income families and seniors has compromised thousands of households,” said Assemblyman Cymbrowitz. “Rents are rising too quickly and stagnant wages and fixed incomes are leaving New Yorkers with few options to remain in their homes and communities. This budget advances several initiatives that will stem the flow of families into homelessness and alleviates the burden of foregoing basic necessities just to afford rent.”

Of the $2.5 billion, $1 billion would be invested in the construction of supportive housing. Five hundred million dollars would be allocated for capital repairs at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), a $400 million increase over the Governor’s proposal. In a departure from current procedure, the Assembly proposal would appropriate this funding directly to NYCHA to avoid delays in receiving the funds, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said.

To combat the rising unaffordability of housing in the City of New York for older adults, a new Elder Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) created jointly by the Assembly and Mayor de Blasio would provide rental assistance to eligible seniors, including SCRIE recipients, whose household income is less than 80 percent of the area median income (AMI). The program – announced by the Mayor and Assemblyman Cymbrowitz last week -- would be supported by a dedicated revenue stream funded with proceeds from a 2.5 percent transfer tax on high-end real estate transactions in the City of New York. This program could potentially cover 25,000 seniors whose rent payments exceed affordable levels.

Additionally, the Multifamily New Construction Program would receive $476 million under the one-house proposal and $125 million would fund an affordable senior housing program for individuals age 55 and over. The senior housing proposal includes language to ensure that 75 percent of funding goes to seniors who earn up to 60 percent of the AMI.

The $2.5 billion would be further disbursed as follows: $125 million for public housing authorities outside New York City including new language to provide tenant protections for projects funded through the Federal Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program; $100 million for Mitchell-Lama Preservation Programs; $77 million for a Multifamily Preservation Program; $50 million for the capital costs of housing for the developmentally disabled; $41.48 million for homeownership programs; $32.5 million for the Small Buildings Program; and $13 million for a Manufactured Homes Program, and $10 million for the Main Street Program.

The Assembly also earmarked $6.5 million in support for the Tenant Protection Unit (TPU), $2 million over the Governor’s proposal, to fund their work in New York City and the surrounding counties where housing is subject to the rent stabilization laws. The TPU provides essential resources for the preservation of affordable housing through the correction of unauthorized rent increases, recapture of illegally deregulated units and investigation of tenant harassment.

Other housing investments include:

  • $10 million for the New York State Attorney General’s Foreclosure Prevention Services Network, with an additional $20 million to be made available in SFY 2018-19;
  • $22.2 million for Neighborhood Preservation Programs Rural Preservation Programs;
  • $27.3 million for the Rural and Urban Community Investment Fund;
  • $2 million for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC) and Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NNORC); and
  • Full restoration of funding for the New York City Housing Authority Tenant Watch Program.

“Under the leadership of Speaker Carl Heastie, the Assembly has put together a one-house budget that addresses the urgent need for affordable and supportive housing and advances our mission to care for our most vulnerable residents, including seniors,” said Assemblyman Cymbrowitz. “As we confront the likelihood of dire cuts to housing programs at the federal level, the state has to step in and do what we can to alleviate the consequences.”