Home » Yang unveils $32 billion, eight-year plan to build affordable housing

Yang unveils $32 billion, eight-year plan to build affordable housing

Mayoral contender Andrew Yang unveiled an ambitious $32 billion plan to build affordable housing Wednesday, vowing to create and preserve 250,000 units within eight years if elected.

Yang reiterated his intention to make the Big Apple the “anti-poverty” city Wednesday, but stressed it would be impossible to do that without creating more housing for poor and middle-class New Yorkers — “across every neighborhood in all five boroughs.”

Yang plans to spend $4 billion annually on the plan — some of which would come from the approximately $15 billion in federal stimulus money the city expects to receive. The total projected bill, $32 billion, would pay for the creation and preservation of 250,000 new affordable apartments, at a clip of about 30,000 units per year.

“This will be the most since Ed Koch,” said Yang, name-checking the former mayor who cemented his reputation by building up the city’s affordable housing stock. “In many ways, the task ahead for us is tougher than what Mayor Koch faced. He was the first mayor after the fiscal crisis of the mid-70′s, and Ed Koch benefited from lower land prices and a giant store of city-owned properties.”

A construction crane towers over a modular apartment building next to the Barclay's Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The apartment building is part of the Atlantic Yards development.

The current state of play, noted Yang, is much more complicated and challenging.

To simplify the process, Yang is proposing to do away with allowing City Council members informal veto power over new developments in the districts they represent, getting rid of minimum parking requirements often attached to new projects, speeding up the city’s land-use approval process and bringing back now-illegal single-room occupancies.

Part of the cash outlay he envisions would go toward converting underutilized hotels and office buildings into affordable apartments and supportive housing for people with extraordinary needs. He also said he’d use vacant city-owned land to build.

Yang made the pitch that he’s the right guy for the job, in part, because of his lack of government experience.

“It’s going to take a mayor who is not grown from our bureaucratic machine, who has no ties to special interests to help achieve this,” he said. “It’s going to take a mayor with the courage to challenge our status quo to actually see this through to fruition.”

New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang

Yang added that he supports rezoning SoHo — a decision currently being contemplated by Mayor de Blasio — and said that predominantly Black and brown neighborhoods should not continue to bear most of the burden of new affordable housing development.

His plan got praise from housing experts, with Gov. Cuomo’s former housing commissioner, Jamie Rubin, calling it “a perfect mix of ambitious goals and the technical fixes” needed to get them done fast.

“He’s clearly spent a lot of time with people from every part of the housing sector and identified the barriers to the production of new housing in this city,” Rubin said.

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Source (Ny Daily news)

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