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The ANHD Blog raises the profile of our issues, and educates our member groups, city decision makers, and the general public on our core issue areas. The ANHD Blog offers sharp, timely and effective commentary on key public policy issues, as well as our work and the work of our member groups.

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Council Boosts Support for Housing in City Budget

June 30, 2014

The New York City Council passed the City Budget this week, including  a significant increase in funding for two programs championed by ANHD and our member groups, that support community-based work to  preserve affordable housing.

The New York City Council passed the City Budget this week, including  a significant increase in funding for two programs championed by ANHD and our member groups, that support community-based work to  preserve affordable housing:

  • Housing Preservation Initiative (HPI) was increased to $2 million in order to expand the current program from 25 districts to include 15 new districts. This will cover 40 council districts where affordable housing is most at risk.
  • Community Consultant Contract (CCC)  was restored and expanded to $1 million, reversing a 50% cut from recent years that had undermined the program’s effectiveness.

ANHD and our member groups would like to thank the New York City Council for their support and commitment to preserving affordable neighborhoods and assist tenants and families in the city who are facing the loss of affordable housing. We especially like to thank Council Housing Chair Jumaane D. Williams, Council Finance Chair Julissa Ferraras, and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, for their exceptional leadership on this issue by supporting HPI & CCC and recognizing the important role these programs play in preserving affordable neighborhoods.

In the past these programs have been limited to the communities with the most extreme at-risk levels. However the programs results from HPI & CCC are in extremely high need. The citywide increase in the number of tenants with high rent burdens, a rapidly growing loss of rent stabilized units and lingering impacts of Superstorm Sandy all contribute to a broadly worsening housing preservation outlook for New York City families. The expanded funding of HPI & CCC to reach more districts will serve the broader wide-spread communities’ at-risk.

Last year alone, the HPI and CCC programs reached more than 14,000 residents across the city and provided counseling for more than 8,000 tenants and homeowners. These programs also provided over 4,000 referrals to needed city agency services and resources.

HPI is a flexible program to support neighborhood groups in the development of strategic, grassroots-based solutions that directly address the particular threat to affordable housing in each community. It is a unique and effective program because HPI projects are strategically targeted to address the particular needs in each impacted community, rather than utilizing generic methods.

The CCC program supports the front-line anti-eviction services that community groups provide. It is CCC-funded anti-eviction specialists at local community groups that answer the call when a community resident is at-risk of eviction, needs assistance enrolling in SCRIE, or when a constituent-service staff person needs help with a housing case. CCC ensures that there are knowledgeable specialists about the full range of available resources and use all applicable tools to keep New York City residents in housing they can afford.

However there is still much more that can be done to improve neighborhood based preservation efforts. In the coming year ANHD will push to have HPD’s Neighborhood Preservation Consultant Program (NPCP) restored and expanded. NPCP focuses on building-by-building threats by providing funding for more than 30 years to community-based, nonprofit partners to identify neglected properties, ensure they don’t have a negative impact on the broader community, and protect tenants from eviction and poor living conditions. Under the Bloomberg administration this program was cut by 72%, reducing it to $580,000. NPCP funds are necessary; they support community-based groups’ staff to augment HPD’s code enforcement efforts by identifying properties plagued by poor living conditions that put tenants and the larger neighborhood at risk.

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