Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Housing Committee Chair Steven Cymbrowitz today announced that the Assembly's budget proposal for SFY 2017-18 provides a plan for the investment of $2.5 billion in funding that was dedicated for supportive and affordable housing development in last year's enacted budget. The plan also includes a new rental assistance program for low income seniors funded by a 2.5 percent tax on multi-million dollar real estate transactions. It also expands and increases funding for the Tenant Protection Unit and increases funding for foreclosure prevention services.
"The Assembly Majority has advanced a budget that is responsive to many of the challenges New Yorkers face in finding and maintaining affordable housing, especially for our most vulnerable populations and senior citizens," said Heastie. "Last year's multi-billion dollar commitment would be strengthened by a clear and thoughtful dedication of funding across the spectrum of affordable housing development and preservation programs."
"The severe shortage of affordable housing for low-income families and seniors has compromised thousands of households," said 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."
Under the Assembly proposal, the $2.5 billion approved in SFY 2016-17 would be allocated as follows:
To combat the rising unaffordability of housing in the City of New York for older adults, the Assembly proposes a new Elder Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) that would provide rental assistance to eligible seniors, including SCRIE recipients, whose household income is less than 80 percent of AMI. The program 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.
The Tenant Protection Unit (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. The Assembly earmarks an additional $2 million over the Executive proposal, for a total of $6.5 million in support for the TPU to fund their work in New York City and the surrounding counties where housing is subject to the rent stabilization laws.
Other housing investments include: