Speaker Heastie Announces Working Group to Examine Mitchell-Lama Housing Developments

Speaker Carl Heastie today announced the appointment of an Assembly working group to be led by Assembly Housing Committee Chair Steven Cymbrowitz that will identify and propose solutions on the most pressing issues affecting limited-profit housing companies, more commonly known and referred to as Mitchell-Lama housing developments.

“Mitchell-Lama developments are an important tool in helping New Yorkers access safe, affordable housing,” Speaker Heastie said. “This working group will allow the Assembly Majority to address the complex issues around these developments, and help families stay in their homes and their communities.”

“Mitchell-Lama housing is a critical option for middle-income families and has helped stabilize neighborhoods throughout New York, but its longevity and effectiveness are threatened by increasingly common dissolutions, corruption in the admissions process, and development-level mismanagement,” Assemblymember Cymbrowitz said. “This working group will help the Assembly Majority better understand these complicated issues and craft policies that will help more New Yorkers stay in their homes.”

The working group, led by Assemblymember Cymbrowitz, will include:

  • Assemblymember Michael Blake
  • Assemblymember Maritza Davila
  • Assemblymember Charles D. Fall
  • Assemblymember Stacey Pheffer Amato
  • Assemblymember Robert J. Rodriguez

The Mitchell-Lama program, which began in 1955, provides affordable rental and cooperative housing to moderate- and middle-income families. There are both city- and state-supervised Mitchell-Lama developments, totaling more than 110,000 units. While some are operated as rentals, most are operated as resident-owned cooperatives, with a board of directors elected by shareholders being responsible for policy and financial decisions. Mitchell-Lamas may voluntarily exit the program, or “dissolve” – typically 20 years after initial occupancy – at which point units return to market rates and conditions.

The Assembly Majority has helped secure more than $270 million to support and retain Mitchell-Lamas in recent years, and led the fight to enact critical Mitchell-Lama legislation in 2019. New laws call for greater standardization and transparency in application processing, require increased agency reporting on developments leaving the program, allow residents to access financial records relating to their development and expand the pool of applicants eligible for Mitchell-Lama housing by raising admission income limits.