Friday News Round-up!

It’s Friday! Here is some of the most relevant housing news from this week:

  1. On Wednesday, Brian Lehrer moderated a mayoral forum on housing policy at NYU’s Furman Center. The forum gave candidates a chance to comment on the city’s current housing policies, as well as offer suggestions for the future. All of the candidates agreed that New York City’s affordable housing stock is inadequate.  In an effort to change this reality, Speaker Quinn wants to create a fund to purchase distressed  foreclosed properties in bulk, while Advocate Bill de Blasio and Bill Thompson want to leverage pension funds and other city capital to create more affordable housing.  And, Comptroller John Liu wants to utilize his “Capital Acceleration Plan,” which would identify excess budgeting in long term plans, eliminate it, and use the surplus to create more affordable housing. To listen to the full forum, check out the audio here
  2. This week, President Obama released his budget proposal for 2014. According to the Washington Post, the President allocated $47.6B to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which is a 6 percent increase from 2013. Of those funds, $37.4 will provide rental assistance to 4.7M low-income families and $2.4 will provide 10,000 new vouchers for veterans. While the increased budget will subsidize many housing costs, Secretary Sean Donovan fears that the allotted funding will not cover the administrative costs of public housing authorities. With insufficient funding, we look to local government to think creatively about recuperating these costs. As we know, NYCHA controversially plans to solve this problem through land leasing their parking lots to luxury developers.
  3. Today, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) released a report entitled, “Modernizing the Fair Housing Act for the 21st Century.” Currently, the Fair Housing Act protects against discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, family status, and religion. However, there are some glaring loopholes — the law does not protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, income status or martial status (as relating to queer partners).  The NFHA report makes visible the inadequate protections in the Fair Housing Act and advocates that lawmakers revise the law to reflect the current needs of its citizens.
  4. On Monday, the City Planning Commission (CPC) approved the Bloomberg administration’s microunit proposal: aDAPT NYC. The plan details the building of micro-units, or tiny apartments, as a means of expanding the affordable housing stock. However, the program requires rezoning in order to be built, and rezoning requires public approval. In the coming weeks there will be a public referendum on the plan. If given the go-ahead from the community as well as the city council, this program would set the precedent for building tiny apartments in NYC. Stay tuned as this story unfolds!
  5. Okay, so forgive us, this happened a few weeks ago. But its a great report and we want to give it the thumbs up it deserves: CASA members and the Urban Justice Center partnered to conduct a survey on the tenant experience in Bronx Housing Court. Their startling results, along with several solid policy recommendations, are available here.

Have a great weekend and stay dry!

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