New York City mayor Bill de Blasio wants to see the city have 200,000 units of affordable housing available in the city by the year 2027. The reason the mayor is focused on affordable housing is because, despite a spike in housing development in many of the boroughs, most of the development is for upper-income housing that is starting to cause shifts in the city’s population. The mayor’s proposal is for rehabilitating property and new construction, but it is not meeting the kind of approval he was hoping for.
The one borough where affordable housing is starting to catch on is the Bronx. There has been plenty of Bronx development over the past couple of years, and much of it has involved affordable housing. One project in particular shows how the government and community in the Bronx is coming together to create housing that appeals to everyone.
Gouverneur Place Affordable Housing Project
According to The Bronx Times, a 68-unit affordable house complex is under construction in the Gouverneur Place area of the Bronx that will also have supportive services for people with disabilities. While it is not the first project of its kind in the Bronx, it is one of the largest. The total bill of $20.7 million was split between the local government and private donors. One of the donors, Westhab, Inc., will run the facility after it is opened in July 2016.
Another donor to the project was United Healthcare, which offered financial donations as well as equipment to the project. The facility will have supportive staff available, a computer lounge, a community room, and onsite storage for residents. The government hopes that the success of this facility will spur other investors to want to get involved in helping affordable housing projects to get off the ground.
The Bronx Center
According to Healthy Sonoma, the momentum for affordable housing in the Bronx is growing as evidenced by the Bronx Center. This is another project that looks to provide affordable housing in the Bronx through private donations and government assistance. Where the Gouverneur project is based on new construction, the Bronx Center will involve rehabilitating the Bronx Borough Courthouse.
The organizers for the Bronx Center project continue to hold fundraisers and community forums to gather support. As of February 2016, the project had raised more than $850,000 in private funds. While this amount is well short of the project’s goal, it shows that the Bronx community does want to support these types of projects.
The Rest Of New York City
While the Bronx is embracing the need for affordable housing, Mayor de Blasio is finding that rezoning the rest of the city to encourage new construction of affordable housing units is not going to be easy. Many communities are pushing back on being rezoned, because they do not want to see their neighborhoods altered. Other parts of the city are concerned that rezoning will bring in too much population and ruin the family atmosphere that has been created.
There is a large contingency of citizens and government officials in all of the New York City boroughs who agree that affordable housing is a critical need for the city, but the suggestions for solving the problem are vastly different. In the Bronx, talk is being replaced by action as several affordable housing projects are either underway, or in the planning stages. With the government and private donors working together, the affordable housing development trend in the Bronx looks like it is going to continue for some time to come.