Issues: Housing

Senator Serrano Stands With Tenants of 888 Grand Concourse to Demand Landlord Accountability

(Bronx, NY) - Senator José M. Serrano joined Community Action for Safe Apartments (CASA), other elected officials and tenants of 888 Grand Concourse to call for repairs on the building's premises. Frustration among tenants has intensified after months of being in court and failure of the landlord to adhere to a judge’s order to correct more than 340 violations to the residential building. Senator Serrano maintained that it is time to hold landlords accountable.

August 21, 2013
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Senator Kennedy, Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes Announce Much-Needed Housing Grant for Broadway-Fillmore Neighborhood

This $200,000 grant from New York State Affordable Housing Corporation will be disbursed to homeowners within a targeted revitalization area to help support necessary home repairs.

Broadway-Fillmore NHS and HomeFront highlight neighborhood progress, announce new staffing and program changes. 

M&T Foundation awards $20,000 grant to streamline delivery of Broadway-Fillmore NHS and HomeFront housing grant programs.

August 16, 2013
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City, State Leaders Outline Initiatives to Eliminate ‘Zombie Houses’, Hold Banks Accountable for Foreclosure Delay

Kennedy, Brown, Kearns, Scanlon gather at 124 McKinley Parkway to bring attention to impact of ‘zombie houses’ on city neighborhoods. 

Coordinated efforts from city and state lawmakers aim to combat the growing problem of blighted, vacant homes stuck in foreclosure limbo. 

Kennedy: ‘Zombie houses’ are eating up our neighborhoods and leaving eyesores and diminished property values in their wake. These out-of-town banks must be held accountable for the harm they’ve caused.

August 9, 2013
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Be Our Guest: Affordable housing plan for Willets Point is reduced and could be doomed

As reported by the Daily News:

By State Senator Jose Pealta:

If City Hall put a wrecking ball to 2,000 units of affordable housing to make room for a shopping mall, it would be front-page news and there would be no end to the outrage.

That’s essentially what’s happening at Willets Point. Unfortunately, it’s hardly causing a stir with anyone other than local affordable housing advocates.

The Willets Point development plan agreed to by the City Council in 2008 called for a a mix of retail space and housing, including the construction of 820 homes for families making $38,400 a year or less; 330 homes for families earning between $38,400 and $46,080; and 770 units for families earning from $46,080 to $99,840.

For full article, click here. 

July 1, 2013
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New York Times: Luxe Builders Chase Dreams of Property Tax Exemptions

Sen. Krueger spoke with New York Times columnist Michael Powell for this piece on abuses in the 421-a tax credit program:

State Senator Liz Krueger watches such unneeded tax subsidies — for energy, insurance, tobacco and luxury development — slip like barges down a darkened canal. She notes that the housing bill “was held hostage so a few well-connected developers could rob taxpayers to the tune of millions.”

June 27, 2013
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Summary of 2013 Senate Legislative Action

 

2013-2014 NEW YORK STATE BUDGET

 

The New York State Senate approved the 2013-14 state budget that delivers on priorities outlined by the Senate Republican Conference to provide much-needed tax relief for middle-class families, help businesses create jobs, and, for the third consecutive year, the budget keeps spending growth below two percent, which is consistent with the local spending cap that applies to school districts and local governments.  It was also the third consecutive budget approved prior to the April 1 deadline.

 

June 24, 2013
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Senate Approves Women Equality Agenda

The New York State Senate passed an historic package of bills today that would ensure equal pay for women, strengthen laws against human trafficking, provide greater support and protection for victims of domestic violence, stop sexual harassment, and end discrimination of women in the workplace related to gender, pregnancy, and family status. 

June 21, 2013
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SQUADRON ANNOUNCES SENATE PASSAGE OF BILL TO MAKE MITCHELL-LAMA HOUSING MORE ACCESSIBLE

Squadron-Silver Legislation Would Give More Middle Income Families Access to Affordable Housing

ALBANY -- Senator Daniel Squadron announced that, today, the State Senate passed his legislation to make the Mitchell-Lama Housing Program more accessible to middle class families. The Assembly passed the legislation earlier this month; it will now be sent to the Governor.

Current law stipulates that families with two or more dependents -- whose joint annual net income exceeds 100% but is below 125% of average median income (AMI) -- are eligible for Mitchell-Lama housing if they pay a rental surcharge. But by making this allowance available only to families with dependents, many families are excluded simply because they don’t have children. 

June 18, 2013
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New York State Senate Passes Klein Bill to Stop Homeowner Insurance Scams

ALBANY, NEW YORK – On Tuesday, the New York Senate passed legislation to protect homeowners from insurance scams by establishing a strict firewall between public adjusters and contractors. The legislation (S.3771A) was written by Senator Klein in response to a series of complaints filed by homeowners against City Island-based Adjustrite, a contracting firm that had established a coordinated scheme whereby a public adjuster directed homeowners to a local contractor with whom he worked and had a nefarious financial arrangement. The bill, known as the “Gayla Marsh Bill,” was named after Gayla Marsh, who fell victim to Adjustrite. Her son, Chancy Marsh, notified Senator Klein’s office and, together, identified other victims of Adjustrite.

June 11, 2013
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Senator Peralta Invites All Children To Join His Summer Reading Program

Senator Jose Peralta is inviting all students in kindergarten through eighth grade to participate in the New York State Senate's Summer Reading Program.  This program is aimed at assisting children keep their reading skills honed and minds sharp during their time away from school.

With the end of the school year in sight, many students are anxiously awaiting the summer months. To keep school age children in the mindset of learning, the New York State Senate, in conjunction with the New York State Library, offers the Summer Reading Program to students across the State.

Participating students will use an online journal to keep track of their reading progress throughout the summer. Children who submit a completed journal will receive a Summer Reading Certificate. To have the children register, please visit www.nyread.com.

June 7, 2013
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Calls For Affordable Housing Continue

As reported by the Queens Tribune:

The debate over the Willets Point redevelopment plan continues, as the City Council and community members calling for more affordable housing seemingly refuse to move towards middle ground.

One side wants to see affordable housing built in Willets Point right away, or at least see a guarantee of affordable housing, while the other wants to build a community in a an undeveloped area before building housing complexes, which would include affordable housing units.

For full article, click here. 

June 7, 2013
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Calls to put housing ahead of mall at Willets

As reported by the Queens Chronicle:

Housing advocates, state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods chanted “What do we want? Affordable housing!” across the street from Citi Field on Friday, decrying what they considered a lackluster push for it in Willets Point and calling for a new agreement between the city and the development group selected to rejuvenate the Iron Triangle.

For full article, click here. 

June 7, 2013
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Skift: Airbnb Gears Up for Big Legal and Legislative Battles in New York

Liz spoke to travel news source Skift about Airbnb the 2011 law she passed to help the city protect New York residents and tourists from illegal hotel operations.

June 6, 2013
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Willets housing vow lost to city’s legal fears

As reported by the Times Ledger:

Developers of the $3 million Willets Point project are not contractually required to build affordable housing in part because the city wants to shield itself from a potential lawsuit.

The Bloomberg administration did not want to risk paying out legal damages to the developers — Related Cos. and Sterling Equities, the real estate arm of the New York Mets — should the city fail to build additional ramps off the Van Wyck Expressway, an essential precursor to constructing the housing component of the project, officials and the companies said at a recent meeting.

For full article, click here. 

June 6, 2013
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MINORITY HOMEOWNERS ACCUSE LAWYER OF STEALING THEIR AMERICAN DREAM

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION

JUNE 5, 2013

MINORITY HOMEOWNERS ACCUSE LAWYER OF STEALING THEIR AMERICAN DREAM

A group of minority homeowners, have seen their American Dream shatter by the apparent conflict of interest between their lawyers and the real estate company.

The owners, which are composed of Dominicans, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans, are accusing Jaime Ramirez, Esq., of malpractice, conflict of interest and ethical violations. “We have invested all our life savings trying to live the American Dream by being able to purchase our home, but unfortunately due to our lawyers negligence and conflict of interest with the real estate company, we are on the verge of losing our homes”, stated Joanny de la Cruz, one of the victims.

June 5, 2013
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Locals Worried About Affordable Housing Promise In Willets Point

As reported by NY1:

Willets Point has had a development plan in the works since 2008, but after a recent revision, some are worried the city won't keep its promise regarding affordable housing.

To view video, click here. 

June 4, 2013
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Peralta to Mayor: Keep Affordable Housing Promise

State Senator Jose Peralta was joined by the Queens Housing Coalition and Make the Road New York today in calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to “stop the bureaucratic wrecking ball” that has laid waste to more than 1,000 units of affordable housing slated to be built in Willets Point and threatens the construction of all of the 1,920 affordable units that were supposed to be built.

The Willets Point development plan agreed to by the City Council in 2008 included the construction of 1,920 units of affordable housing.  Construction was to begin at the outset of the development process, or after the initial remediation.  Under a revised plan, construction of 875 affordable units will not begin until at least 2025, if at all.

“If they put a wrecking ball to 2,000 units of affordable housing to make room for a shopping mall, it would be front-page news and there would be no end to the outrage,” Sen. Peralta said.  “That’s exactly what’s happening here.  It’s just as outrageous.  It’s just as unacceptable.

“Mr. Mayor, stop the bureaucratic wrecking ball.  Let’s hold everyone to their word and provide the affordable housing this community so desperately needs.  That way, in a few years, instead of a New York City mayor coming into this community to complain about a census undercount, the visit will be to tout this area as a model of mixed-use development where everyone has a dignified place to live.”

Former New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. said: “Middle-class and working-class families in Queens and around the City need more affordable housing. I’m concerned about plans to scale back the development of affordable units in Willets Point and urge Mayor Bloomberg to recommit to building quality, affordable housing in every borough.  As Mayor, I will work to expand middle-income and low-income housing so we can end the middle-class squeeze and allow more New Yorkers to remain in the City they love.”

Assemblyman Francisco Moya said: "Developers have an obligation to address the needs and concerns of the local community.  All too often we have seen in working class neighborhoods and communities of color that promises are not kept.  The community surrounding Willets Point needs to be guaranteed by the developers and city officials that the one element of this project that will benefit residents the most will be fulfilled: the construction of affordable housing units.  The proposed delays and reduced number of units is not acceptable.  I look forward to working with the City Council, local community boards, and the Queens Development Group to make sure that our voices are heard, promises are kept, and that we will not have our communities needs pushed to the side."

Council Member Julissa Ferreras said: “Affordable housing is a necessity for Willets Point and has always remained my priority.  Since day one, I have worked to negotiate with the Administration to secure a fair plan that will ensure 35 percent of the new apartment units being built are affordable housing units. I am appreciative of the support that I have received from my colleague in local government, Senator Peralta, to bring affordable housing to Willets Point now.”

Council Member Daniel Dromm said: “It is unconscionable that the Administration is spending substantial resources on enticing a major league soccer stadium to the area but refuses to reaffirm a commitment to ensuring that affordable housing will be included in any future development at Willet's Point.  New Yorkers who work hard and live in the area should be prioritized over special interests who will give little back to the community.”

Ivan Contreras, Coordinator of Queens Housing Coalition, said: "According to the official contract between the City and the Joint Venture neither party are legally obligated to build the ramps which are needed to develop the housing part.  This means that they can walk away from the project leaving the community with a mall, a hotel, a retail center and a parking lot and not building a unit of housing. I don't think this is what the community wants and needs.  New York is in a housing crisis we need affordable housing and we need it now"  

Leandra Requena, Queens resident and member of Make the Road New York, said: "Members of the community fought hard for affordable housing to be included in the original Willets Point agreement.  Now the developers are backing away from this commitment.  After a history of broken promises, the City should not allow this developer to build a mall at Willets Point, especially when this community does not need yet another mall."

As the plan stands now, there may be no affordable housing ever constructed as part of the Willets Point development.  That's because housing construction may not begin until the city builds additional exit ramps off the Van Wyck Expressway.

The problem is that the city appears to have no intention of completing such construction before 2024, delaying the building of affordable housing until at least 2025.  Moreover, if the ramp construction is not completed by December 1, 2025, the developer, the Queens Development Group, is under no obligation to build any affordable housing whatsoever.  And, ultimately, it could be the Queens Development Group deciding when the ramps are built, should the developer undertake the job.

But even if the ramps are built in a timely manner, the developer may buy its way out of its affordable housing obligation.

“These conditions put the construction of any affordable housing units in serious doubt,” Sen. Peralta wrote in a letter last week to Mayor Bloomberg, City Council Christine Quinn and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall.  “My community and other communities affected by the Willets Redevelopment simply can’t afford to wait or rely on conditional promises.  We need answers and we need results.”

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May 31, 2013
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Committee Meeting: Housing, Construction and Community Development Meeting

Senate Standing Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development Senator Catharine M. Young, Chair 12:30 PM, Tuesday, June 4, 2013 Room 308 LOB

June 4, 12:30 PM - 12:37 PM
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The Villager Op-Ed: Giving the public a real say on NYCHA infill plan

May 30, 2013 : By Brad Hoylman and Brian Kavanagh Leasing off the basketball courts of low-income New Yorkers to build luxury apartments might sound extreme, but that’s among the proposals by the New York City Housing Authority to raise revenue.

May 30, 2013
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