In all of the five boroughs of New York City, none has the affordable residential housing issues that the Bronx has. According to the Gotham Gazette, the Bronx has approximately 1,100 homeless residents with a majority of those homeless residents being families.
When New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced his desire to build or preserve 200,000 affordable housing units throughout the city, he had Bronx families in need in mind. To address the growing problem, there has been a jump in Bronx construction.
Recognizing The Need For Affordable Housing
When Mayor de Blasio announced his new affordable housing guidelines to help create more low-income housing in all five boroughs, he was helped by the 421a tax abatement law that gave huge tax breaks to the construction of new affordable housing in New York City. The Bronx used the popularity of that law to start addressing its affordable housing problems, and the numbers were impressive.
According to the New York City Office of the Mayor, the Bronx saw more new building permits filed for low-income housing than any other borough. The 5,518 units approved in 2014 was more than Brooklyn or Queens, and it helped to spur a wave of new construction that started to address the housing problem in the Bronx.
The Issue With 421a
When it was decided that the 421a abatement law would expire on January 1, 2016, there was a rush on building permits throughout the city. The Real Deal indicates that there were commitments to build 3,000 new structures in New York City in 2015, in anticipation of the tax abatement expiring. That number represents the highest number of affordable housing permits issued since the affordable housing initiative started in 1987. This number more than doubles the amount of permits issued in 2008, which had held the record until 2015.
With all of these new permits being issued, there was hope that the Bronx would start to see the relief it needed. However, the demand for low-income housing in the Bronx is so significant, that it drove the rent prices to the highest points allowed by law, and that caused an influx of more homeless people. The primary source of the issue was the elderly, and that prompted Bronx authorities to act with new ideas that are spurring low-income housing construction in the borough once again.
Revitalizing Elderly Housing In The Area
The New York Times announced that the South Bronx is going to see a new boom in affordable housing construction as the borough makes the moves necessary to spur residential construction in the wake of the repeal of 421a. The focus of the new efforts in the Bronx is on building affordable housing for the elderly, and it all starts with leases to build on city-owned land.
Through the City of New York and the Bronx government, contractors are being named to build new affordable housing on government land. A project in the South Bronx has just been awarded to a private developer to create hundreds of new units at the Mill Brook Houses site. The developer has been given a 60-year lease for the property, and construction is expected to begin by 2017.
Trying To Get Back To The Days Of Plenty
In 2015, the Bronx experienced an increase of 100 percent in the number of new building permits that were issued to build affordable housing. Those projects are staggered and some of them have yet to break ground. The hope is that this new construction mixed with the permits that were issued under 421a will spur an interest in low-income housing in the Bronx that can help solve the borough’s problems.
The mayor’s office re-emphasized its desire to have tens of thousands of new affordable housing units built throughout the city within the next decade. The repeal of tax abatement 421a has created some challenges, but many developers realize that there is a demand that needs to be filled.
The Bronx authorities are still issuing new building permits and the affordable housing mandates that Mayor de Blasio put in place are still in effect. The Bronx needs to keep building low-income housing to address its problems, and these new projects give the borough hope that their low-income housing crisis can soon come to an end.