SUBJECT:     The J-51 Program and Preserving Affordable Housing for New York’s Low-Income Families

PURPOSE:     To examine how the administration of the J-51 program and related public benefits protect affordable housing for low-income families.

       In recent years, New York’s supply of affordable housing has dramatically declined.  Low-income tenants are devoting large percentages of their income to increasing housing costs.  Low-income New Yorkers have many reasons to fear that their existing affordable housing units are at risk as landlords find creative ways to exit rent stabilization.  A recent State Supreme Court decision found that the landlord of Independence Plaza North, a 1331-unit housing development, inappropriately destabilized certain apartments despite the company’s receipt of J-51 benefits.  The way the J-51 program was administered had a significant impact on tenants who receive benefits such as Section 8 or NYC Advantage vouchers, and other crucial public benefits like Senior Citizens Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) and Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE).

Public input is requested concerning State and City agencies’ roles in:

1)      Administering the J-51 program and its role in protecting New York’s low-income families from losing their affordable housing; and

2)      Promoting permanent affordable housing for low and moderate-income families.

Persons wishing to present testimony at the hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of postponement or cancellation of the hearing.

Witnesses are asked to keep oral testimony to no more than five minutes in length. Written testimony will also be accepted and may be sent to the contact person listed on the reply form. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committee will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. If you are testifying, please submit ten copies of any prepared testimony at the hearing registration desk. In order to further publicize the hearing, please inform interested parties of the Committee’s interest in receiving written testimony from all sources.

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