The de Blasio administration has invested $400 million in affordable housing since the beginning of 2014, according to New York City’s commissioner of housing development and preservation, Vicki Been. The figure, disclosed by Been at a conference at Baruch College Thursday, indicates that the administration will have to dramatically increase its investment pace in order to create and preserve 200,000 affordable housing units by 2024.
But while public investment has been off to an expected slow start, the administration has had success attracting private investment.
“The city has put its money where its heart is,” Been said. “We used those city funds to leverage private investment (…) at a ratio of eight to one.” In other words: The city’s investment of $400 million enabled another $3.2 billion in private investment in affordable housing over the same period. The level of private spending appears to be a major success for City Hall. Last May, the administration had calculated that city investment would merely generate private investment at a ratio of about one to four.
“I believe that our progress to date shows that our goals are not only ambitious – as they need to be – but also doable,” Been added.
Last May, Bill de Blasio had announced a plan to invest $8.2 billion in city funds to create 80,000 affordable housing units and preserving another 120,000 over ten years. This would translate to an annual average of around $800 million – well above last year’s $400 million. Under the plan, the mayor hopes to attract $30 billion in private and $2.9 billion in state and federal funding, bringing the total investment to $41.1 billion.
Been, who was speaking at a conference on affordable housing policies hosted by the Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute at Baruch, acknowledged that the current pace of investment wouldn’t be enough to meet the administration’s goals. But she added that City Hall had envisioned a slow start anyway, and that the pace of development has actually exceeded her expectations. The city created 17,376 affordable housing units in 2014 – slightly more than its target of 16,000.