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Mayor de Blasio and Housing Programs of New York, Essay Example

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Words: 1650

Essay

The affordable housing plans of mayor de Blasio have impressed not only voters, but gained public organization’s support as well. His goal to create 200.000 units in the next ten years has also attracted those who were looking for social justice within the city. As the website of the mayor states: “We live a Tale of Two Cities. The wealthiest New Yorkers enjoy a life of luxury, while many working and retired families can barely pay the rent. At the very bottom, 50,000 New Yorkers sleep in shelters every night” (De Blasio, web). He recognized the social need for affordable homes, and planned to tackle the mistakes of the previous administration. The program of de Blasio states that in the previous ten years New York lost almost as many apartments and housing units as the city preserved. The new city leader has always had a commitment towards affordable housing, as he served the position of a regional director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (De Blasio, web). The new approach is a crucial part of the mayor’s program, and he takes the task seriously. Indeed, next week, the program is ready to go, according to the report of slive.com (Jorgensen para. 2).While the New York City Bar’s recommendations (New York City Bar) do not include housing developments, it seems like de Blasio is committed to the issue enough to allocate funds immediately on the program. According to the report of the Gotham Gazette (Rosenbaum para 3) he stated:  ‘I want to see much more aggressive policies in terms of how the city works with the real estate industry,’ de Blasio said in a recent Ask Me Anything forum on the online aggregator Reddit. He said he plans to add an additional 200,000 affordable housing units in the next decade”.

The author of the current study would like to examine the impact of de Blasio’s housing development plans on social justice, economic development, social justice, and equal opportunities. The thesis statement of the current research is that the housing development initiated by de Blasio will have a positive impact on quality of life in New York city, while it will support building and property maintenance industries, help them create jobs, while increasing the tax income of the town through lower unemployment and increased industrial activities.

Comparison: Housing the Bloomberg And De Blasio Way

The Bloomberg administration had different priorities from mayor de Blasio’s program. The policy recommendations of the New York City Bar include recommendations for education, infrastructure, transport, safety, consumer protection, social welfare programs, but does not mention affordable housing in particular. It seems like de Blasio has taken a different direction than the previous city administration. He is trying to tackle New York’s social inequalities through providing affordable homes. He stated: “we’re going to treat the workforce with a respect that they’ve not been treated with, and at the same time protect the taxpayers and do something that’s affordable” (Durkin). He is also planning to increase the influence of local government on the decisions made by authorities and would like to create regulations “By converting incentives to hard-and-fast rules” (De Blasio, web), in order to have a control over what type of units will be built in New York. While Bloomberg had a liberal approach to the construction industry, he is likely to increase the involvement of New York City, by setting affordability standards for developers. Indeed, instead of a democratic approach previously adapted by Bloomberg, he will try to create social justice through increased regulations and strict policies.

Mayor Bloomberg had a vision to make New York homes more affordable, as well, however, according to the ANHD report (Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development Inc) published in 2011, there were several weaknesses of the housing market during the previous administration. The report criticized Bloomberg’s policies at several points. The authors stated that “NHMP’s units too often do not meet the actual affordability needs of the neighborhoods in which they were built” (2). Further, they found that there was a problem with the long term affordability of homes. The report also highlights one important problem, stating that “Stating in 2017, the City will be at risk of losing an annual average of 11,000 units built with City subsidy and by 2037, the City could lose the affordability of as many units as were built by NHMP, greatly undermining the value of the City’s efforts” (2). Re-zoning New York is one of the main priorities of de Blasio’s housing program, and problems with the zones were also highlighted by NHMP. The solution the new mayor offers is aiming to “reshape the inequalities in the real estate market by mandating developers build affordable housing” (3).  During the mayoral debate before the elections, Republican candidate, Joe Lhota claimed that the program was unconstitutional and will not work. Therefore, it is important that the new mayor discusses the potential implications of the affordable housing program with legal experts before rolling it out, in order to eliminate legal risks.

Compared with Bloomberg’s housing program, started in 2003, had similar objectives to de Blasio’s initiative. However, one of the priorities of the previous mayor was “expanding role of private capital in affordable housing and adapting tax and zoning incentives to the current market” (NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, 7). The criticism of NHMP also highlighted one important weakness of Bloomberg’s affordable housing policies; looking at housing development as simply providing units, without the vision to embed community and neighborhood development in the program. It seems like de Blasio does have a more complex view of the problem, and the rezoning of the city would certainly benefit low-income families and disadvantaged neighborhoods. The NHMP report confirms, reflecting on Bloomberg’s affordable housing plan that “New York City’s leadership must take into account the lessons learned from this experience in order to develop a more effective affordable housing production policy that can have greater impact on local communities and greater value for the taxpayer investment”. De Blasio’s safe streets and neighborhoods program is aligned with the rezoning plan and affordable housing program.

Public Opinion About De Blasio’s Housing Plans

Odekon states that there are several issues with inequality in New York city, which need to be tackled. He also confirms that in some neighborhoods, over 30 percent of people live in poverty. While affordable homes are available, and will be built in these neighborhoods, this will not solve the problem completely. He claims that “the devil is in the details” and the hard task is that the city administration “will have to tackle the excesses of the ineffective and inefficient development approach that she has championed in the past”. (Odekon)

Rosenbaum (para 8) states that currently “only 13 percent of all new multi-family units are currently designated as affordable housing and more than a third of the city has been rezoned during Bloomberg’s tenure”. City Councilman Brad Lander, one of the supporters of de Blasio’s program stated that it is possible to pass the legal requirements of rezoning New York, tackling social inequalities in the city. The Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University, however, found some issues with the development plan. By slowing down the development of homes that are priced according to the market rates, according to the authors, would create a domino effect and increase the cost of homes in New York that are not in the “affordable homes” category.

Possible Consequences of Affordable Housing Stock Increase

Rosenbaum confirms that similar attempts to regulate the construction industry and mandate affordable housing have been made previously by mayor Bloomberg. The increased regulation of the sector resulted in several developers opting out, because they did not want to compromise the profitability of their projects.

As it has been noted above, apart from the legislative issues that might arise during the rezoning process of New York, there are several risks of carrying on with the plan of creating more than 200.000 affordable homes. One of the risks is that developers would pull out from the market. On the other hand, it is likely that some developers will increase the price of non-affordable homes in order to make up for the loss of profits created by the strict affordability guidelines introduced by the city leadership. Neighborhood issues of rezoning, including crime level and demographic changes, infrastructure will need to be tackled effectively by the de Blasio administration, in order to reduce social resistance of neighborhoods and gain public commitment.

Conclusion

The above review of the affordable homes policy of mayor de Blasio did not reveal any long term vision about creating jobs in the construction industry. However, it is evident that the program – when and if it is completed – will be able to increase social justice, make homes more affordable for long term to people who are most in need. There is, however, a risk that some developers would pull out of the market and no additional jobs will be added to the pool by property construction companies. The outcome will depend on how successfully de Blasio will be able to carry out negotiations with the industries, and how the re-zoning plan will pass the required legislative requirements.

Works Cited

Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development Inc. “Real Affordability” 2011. Web.

De Blasio, B. “Website of Bill de Blasio” 2014. Web.

Durkin, E. “Mayor de Blasio pushes for healthcare savings in exchange for pay raises in contract talks with city unions” New York Daily News. March 5, 2014

Jorgensen, J. “City lots eyed in affordable housing plan Mayor Bill de Blasio expected to roll out this week” 29/4/14 Slive.com 2014. Web.

New York City Bar. “Policy Recommendations for New York City’s Next Mayor” 2013. Web.

NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Mayor Bloomberg’s Affordable Housing Plan 2009. Web.

Odekon, K. “Pricey Building Raises Questions for De Blasio Housing Plan” City Limits. 2014. Web.

Rosenbaum, S. “De Blasio Pins Affordable Housing Hopes On Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning” Gotham Gazette. 2013. Web.

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