Skip to main content

One Easy Change to Produce More Affordable Housing Units in NYC

In New York City, when Ed Koch was mayor, he had thousands of city-owned buildings that could be renovated to ease the affordable housing shortage and he did so. The next mayor, Rudolf Giuliani, changed the process. Beginning with the Giuliani regime, when the NYC's housing agency sued the owner of an apartment building to force repairs, the housing agency no longer foreclosed on that building. Instead it sells off that building's overdue bills so the city can recoup some of the fines and unpaid interest and water, sewer and other unpaid bills.

Stop selling off these properties. The whole process works through a trust which is financed by the sale of bonds to private investors. The trust collects payments and can seize the property if the bills are not paid. The city no longer owns the property. The property is in limbo. In a NYTimes article by Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Kim Barker, it is stated that from 2010 to 2015, more than 15,000 properties with roughly 43,600 residential units were affected by these sales.

The NYC Comptroller, Scott Stringer, wants the city to foreclose on these properties and use the properties for affordable housing. The city's public advocate, Letitia James, wants the city to sell these properties' debts through a preservation trust to nonprofits, which would get the owners to fix these properties or take them over.

This could be done tomorrow if the city would stop looking at the short-term amount of money taken in by selling and consider the long-term amount of money that could be saved if people had a place to live rather than living in city shelters. And put people who are homeless first before money.


Popular posts from this blog

Free Trade?

What is free trade? Free trade means that nations agree to trade goods and services without government interference – no tariffs, no underlying government regulation. The concept of free trade is supported by mainstream economics (neoclassical) which assumes that there is a level playing field worldwide; that free trade means governments do not help the private sector.

However, we know that is not the case. China’s government has put enormous investment in certain of its industries. One example is solar energy. China’s government has invested in this industry with the result that China now leads the world in the production of solar panels. There are dozens of examples of governments investing in private companies to help them in the tough worldwide competition that has developed.

America companies who put their manufacturing plants in China benefit enormous. It is called the “free rider.”  American companies with manufacturing plants keep reaping all the rewards of selling…

Mayor de Blasio admits homelessness cannot be eliminated immediately.

After three years of blaming his predecessor, Mayor Bloomberg, for moving so slowly on housing the homeless, Mayor de Blasio finally admitted that it will take years to house so many homeless people. Perhaps it isn't all Mayor Bloomberg's fault.
   To add a different perspective, let us take a look at New York State and its inability to commit resources to the city's problem. During the Bloomberg administration, the state cut funding to the homeless from $164 million in FY2002 to $110 million in FY2012, a 33 percent cut.  In addition, the state cut the funding to one of the few programs to permanently house the homeless, the Advantage Program. Not only did the state cut the program, but the state also passed legislation that the city could not use other state funds for the program.
   Then of course there is the federal government that has cut millions of dollars out of the public housing budget that houses so many of people in poverty. Thanks to the federal government, t…