New Budget Addresses NYCHA Capital Needs & Enhances Housing Opportunities for New Yorkers, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz Says
The new state budget includes initiatives to address recent and long-term infrastructure problems threatening the health and safety of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments, makes it possible for more seniors to remain in their homes and communities, and spurs private development in affordable housing, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), Chair of the Assembly’s Housing Committee, announced today.
The SFY 2018-19 budget provides $250 million for NYCHA to make capital repairs, including replacing and updating heating equipment as well as weatherization and other critical maintenance projects. The budget will also allow NYCHA to use the design-build procurement process, which will expedite boiler replacements and other construction and repair projects by consolidating both the design and construction of a project into a single contract.
“As we speak of heating systems and buildings, we must remember the most important part of the conversation – the nearly 400,000 residents that call these developments home,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said in his floor speech in the Assembly Chamber on Saturday, shortly before the budget was passed. “These people are the fabric of the city and its workforce, and without them New York would not be what it is today.”
Eighty percent of NYCHA residents were without heat at some point between October 1, 2017 and January 22, 2018, the lawmaker noted.
“Over the last several years, the Assembly Majority has led the way in changing the narrative of ‘the state has no role here’ by securing much-needed funding and resources to help right some of the wrongs that have been done to these residents,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said.
“Now, we must demand that all levels of government step up to make sure these housing units remain forever affordable and meet the needs of their occupants. NYCHA and its residents are not a city unto themselves, and we must all work together to right this ship with a coordinated and comprehensive response,” he added.
The budget also continues the state’s affordable and homeless housing and services initiative championed in 2017 by Assemblyman Cymbrowitz during his first year as Housing Committee Chair. The funding will continue to support the creation or maintenance of the program’s 100,000 units of affordable housing and 6,000 units of supportive housing.
The spending plan also includes the establishment of a program in New York City for families and individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Under the program, individuals and families would be offered a rental supplement up to 100 percent of the fair market rent for up to four years.
In addition, the budget will help spur private investment in affordable housing by making key changes to the way state Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (SLIHCs) are administered through the process of bifurcation and certification.
For developers of new low-income housing units receiving SLIHCs, bifurcation and certification will allow the sale of state credits among investing partners separate from the assignment of federal credits. This will ensure the credits are available to a broader market, providing additional incentive for much-needed investment in affordable housing developments.
“Following discussions with stakeholders at this year’s budget hearings, my colleagues and I recognized the need for creative, responsible action to develop more affordable housing without overburdening taxpayers,” said Assemblyman Cymbrowitz. “Allowing bifurcation and certification of SLIHCs sharpens one of the most useful tools in our toolbox to help build a stronger state from the ground up.”
This year’s state budget also rejects the executive proposal to defer the payment of certain tax credits – including SLIHCs, the Brownfield redevelopment tax credit and credits for the rehabilitation of historic properties – until 2021. This deferral strategy had the potential to jeopardize the financial standing of planned affordable housing projects and construction already underway.
The spending plan invests $2 million in new funding for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs) and Neighborhood NORCs. The 2017-18 budget language was also modified to allow the Office for the Aging to expend last year’s $2 million Mortgage Insurance Fund (MIF) allocation for these programs.
Assemblyman Cymbrowitz secured long-awaited funding increases for NORCs when he chaired the Assembly’s Aging Committee just prior to Housing. NORCs and Neighborhood NORCs provide services to help participants, including healthcare management planning, case assistance, benefit application assistance, linking residents with in-home and prevention services, healthcare screenings and other services.
Additionally, the new budget provides $18.19 million in funding for Neighborhood and Rural Preservation Programs, local assistance housing providers whose programs, services, and activities help neighborhoods and communities increase housing opportunity.
“Every New Yorker deserves a safe and decent place to live,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said. “Our work is not yet done: we’re in the midst of implementing a multi-year plan to address the ever-present demand for affordable housing. But this budget demonstrates that we are making significant progress in creating and preserving affordable housing opportunities and enhancing the quality of life for all New Yorkers.”