Tuesday, January 15, 2008

More Housing: Spitzer's Plan

More details are emerging on the Governor's $400 million affordable housing proposal. As the NY Times writes this morning: "The governor’s proposed Housing Opportunity Fund, in addition to the state’s regular funding, would more than triple the amount normally allocated for affordable housing, according to Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez, a Brooklyn Democrat and the chairman of the Assembly Housing Committee."

This is a sharp departure from the Pataki era, where all affordable housing was folded into the 80/20 incentive plan that critics say benefited developers more than those in need of housing. As the Times points out: "During much of Mr. Pataki’s tenure, nearly every developer building rental apartments who asked the state for tax-free bonds got them as long as they agreed to set aside 20 percent of the units for low- and moderate-income tenants for 20 years. The 80-20 program, as it was known, meant millions for developers. But critics said the program overly benefited developers of luxury projects that were out of reach for poorer residents."

Let's hope that the initiative gets full legislative support so that a full range of needy New Yorkers, the middle class along with the truly poor, get housing opportunities in a city that is becoming less hospitable to the less than wealthy. We're also sure that some of this money could be put to good use in West Harlem where affordable housing needs to move front in center to mitigate the Columbia expansion effort.