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This Week in New York City Government

Mayor:

De Blasio Administration Unveil’s ‘Next Generation NYCHA’: A Comprehensive Plan to Secure the Future of City Public Housing

Mayor de Blasio and NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye announced NextGeneration NYCHA (NextGen), a comprehensive ten-year plan to stabilize the financial crisis facing New York City’s public housing and deliver long-needed improvements to residents’ quality of life by changing the way NYCHA is funded, managed, and how it serves its residents. Developed with the input of hundreds of stakeholders and residents, NextGen is the most inclusive plan in City history to tackle the critical needs in public housing head on.

In its worst financial position in more than 80 years, NYCHA faces nearly $2.5 billion in a cumulative projected operating deficit over the next ten years, and nearly $17 billion in unmet capital needs for major infrastructure repairs. Billions in underfunding from all levels of government, outdated and inefficient management, and rapidly deteriorating buildings have jeopardized the future of the nation’s oldest and largest public housing authority.

Developed over one year from 150 collaborative meetings with NYCHA residents, stakeholders and elected officials, NextGen builds on the de Blasio administration’s commitment to stabilize, preserve and revitalize public housing. By cutting costs, instituting modern and effective management practices, and targeting new sources of revenue, over ten years the plan’s 15 strategies will both reduce NYCHA’s capital needs by $4.6 billion and produce a cumulative operating surplus ofover $200 million.NextGen will transform NYCHA into a more effective and efficient property management that has the funding and flexibility to be more responsive to the over half-million New Yorkers it serves. Collectively, these advanceswill help physically and financially safeguard public housing for future generations.

Goal 1: A Secure Financial Future achieve short-term financial stability and diversify funding for the long term

  • Immediate Stabilization: City relief of NYCHA’s Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT), building on the already-waived $70 million annual payment to the NYPD, to achieve an additional $30 million in operating savings per year.
  • Streamlining Operations: Integration and attrition of 1,000 central office positions into other City services and agencies to achieve approximately $90 million in operating savings per year.
  • Modernized Rent Collection: Improving rent and fee collection by working closely with residents and updating procedures to achieve $30 million in revenue per year.
  • Reducing Commercial Vacancies: Efficiently lease more of the over two million square feet of non-residential ground floor spaces to achieve up to $1 million in operating revenue per year.
  • Increasing Parking Revenues: Boost parking revenues – while capping resident parking rates at no more than $150 a month – by increasing occupancy and rates to achieve up to $5 million in operating revenues per year.

Goal 2: Property Management For Tomorrow – operate efficiently and effectively

  • Mobile Solutions: Launch MyNYCHA, a mobile app for residents to create, submit, track and update maintenance service requests, view alerts and outages, and schedule inspections 24/7 to achieve enhanced customer service. There will still be a call-in number for residents.
  • Enhanced Development Operations: Immediately begin reducing time to deliver basic maintenance to seven days at 18 developments identified for NYCHA’s new Optimal Property Management Operating model (OPMOM) system. During 2016, begin to roll out best practices from this work to all NYCHA developments with the goal of achieving similar service response times portfolio wide.
  • Improved Sustainability: Join citywide efforts to reduce waste and implement recycling across NYCHA developments by the end of 2016 to achieve greater sustainability.
  • Increased Energy Efficiency: Execute a series of competitive Energy Performance Contracts (EPCs) to upgrade and retrofit thousands of buildings to achieve lower energy costs and energy consumption.
  • Resiliency: Deploy $3 billion of funding from FEMA to repair and protect over 200 buildings that sustained significant damage from Superstorm Sandy to achieve more resilient developments.
  • Safety & Security: Building on capital from the Mayor and City Council, NYCHA will invest an additional $100 million to install enhanced security measures, including exterior lighting, cameras, news doors and layered access, which have already led to a ten percent reduction in violent crime at 15 high-crime developments.

Goal 3: (Re)build & Reinvest – rebuild, expand, and preserve the City’s public and affordable housing stock

  • Roof Replacements: Allocate $100 million per year for the next three years and call on the State to match the funds for a comprehensive roof replacement program to reduce mold, repair leaks, and restore paint to reduce capital needs by $600 million.
  • Expand Affordable Housing: Transform underutilized NYCHA-owned property to create 10,000 affordable housing units – five percent of the new construction called for in Housing New York. NYCHA will also explore a limited number of mixed-income developments on underutilized land over the next ten years, with 50 percent of new housing dedicated to low-income families making no more than 60 percent AMI, or approximately $46,600 for a family of three (the average NYCHA household size is 2.3). These efforts will bring at least $500 million in revenue over ten years for building improvements and better community amenities at adjacent developments, and to support NYCHA’s broader financial needs.
  • Leveraging HUD preservation programs: NYCHA will renovate and upgrade thousands of units by maximizing the more prevalent and flexible federal subsidy available through Section 8. In all circumstances, NYCHA retains decision-making control, ensuring that affordability and tenant rights are maintained and protection is in place from future conversion to market-rate units.
    • Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Program: NYCHA will convert approximately 1,400 units at Ocean Bay Apartments – Bayside in Far Rockaway to project-based Section 8 through HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, financing critical building repairs and achieving ten-year operating revenue of $66 million and reducing capital needs by $87 million.
    • Increase Operating Subsidy: Subject to HUD approval, over the next ten years NYCHA will more aggressively pursue federal subsidy, including Section 8, for its 5,000 currently unsubsidized units, achieving new operating revenue of $60 million per year.
    • Convert Scattered-Site Portfolio to Section 8: Over ten years, subject to HUD approval, NYCHA could convert 6,380 public housing units in scattered site developments – which are more difficult and costly to manage – to project-based Section 8 to achieve ten-year operating revenue of $18 million and reduce capital needs by $1.35 billion.
    • Rehabilitate “Obsolete” Units: Over ten years, subject to HUD approval, NYCHA could convert 8,313 public housing units in properties where the cost of rehabilitation exceeds the cost of new construction to project-based Section 8 to achieve ten-year operating revenue of $26 million and reduce capital needs by $1.6 billion.
  • Strategic Planning for Capital Repairs: For the first time, NYCHA will institute a capital planning process by analyzing the needs of the entire portfolio, rather than the current case-by-case basis, and prioritizing repairs and upgrades that make the most effective use of limited funds and deliver capital projects more efficiently.
  • Modern Design: Update its decades-old design guidelines for renovations and new construction, focusing on modern and efficient design, accessibility, appeal, and safety to improve the quality of life for residents.

Goal 4: Forward, Togetherconnect residents to best-in-class social services

  • Better Social Services for Residents: NYCHA will move away from directly providing social services to connecting residents to best-in-class services from expert providers. As part of this partnership coordination effort, beginning July 1, the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) will begin to operate 24 community centers and the Department for the Aging (DFTA) will begin to operate 17 senior centers, providing residents best-in-class services from specialized providers, saving NYCHA an average of $16 million per year.
  • Leverage Philanthropic Funding: Launch the Fund for Public Housing, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) with the goal of raising $200 million over three years in philanthropic dollars to support linking NYCHA residents to third-party service providers to improve social service delivery and access to economic opportunity for residents.
  • Economic Empowerment: Double the number of residents connected to jobs in next ten years to 4,000 annually through NYCHA’s Office of Resident Economic Empowerment and Sustainability (REES) and community partners.
  • Pathway to Trade Jobs: Provide over 500 residents with apprenticeships and a pathway to union membership over the next five years through a Project Labor Agreement with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York to help residents achieve skills and access to better paying jobs.

To read a full transcript of the Mayor’s remarks, please click here.

Mayor de Blasio Announces Tentative Contract Agreement Between NYCHA and Teamsters Local 237

Mayor de Blasio announced that the New York City Housing Authority has reached a tentative contract agreement with Teamsters Local 237, which covers over 5,500 NYCHA employees at developments across the city, including caretakers, housing assistants, health plant technicians, resident buildings superintendents, and more. This agreement brings 78 percent of the workforce under contract.

This agreement conforms with the civilian labor pattern established last year. The agreement also incorporates the unprecedented health care savings agreed upon with the Municipal Labor Committee, ensuring that these raises are affordable and responsible for the City and its taxpayers.

The proposed contract provides for 10 percent in raises over seven years, five months, and 15 days. It would begin, retroactively, on December 15, 2010 and expire on May 29, 2018.

As part of the agreement, the City and the union will create a joint Labor-Management Committee, which will consist of representatives of the City, NYCHA, Local 237, and other unions representing NYCHA workers. Given the years of federal and state disinvestment in public housing, the committee will work to increase available funds to build and maintain strong, vibrant public housing infrastructure; improve the cost-effectiveness, efficiency, and flexibility of operations; examine insourcing where there are savings or productivity opportunities; and improve the delivery of services and resident experience. The committee will convene within 30 days of contract ratification.

Similar to other pattern settlements, NYCHA and Local 237 have also agreed to continue to identify, review, recommend, and develop initiatives that will generate workplace savings, maximize the potential of the workforce, and ensure the provision of essential services, while at the same time providing increased compensation for the workforce. The parties will conclude discussions on this issue no later than 24 months after the date of contract ratification.

In total, the MLC and the City have agreed to secure $3.4 billion in health care savings through Fiscal Year 2018 (starting with $400 million in FY15 and building up to $1.3 million in FY2018), and $1.3 billion in recurring savings every year thereafter. These savings are focused on cost-cutting measures that, for the first time, bend the curve of rising health care costs. The City has already detailed the $400 million in savings for FY15. These savings are guaranteed and enforceable by arbitration.

Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation to Develop a Comprehensive Cultural Plan

Mayor de Blasio signed into law four pieces of legislation – Intro. 419-A, in relation to a comprehensive cultural plan; Intro. 51-B, in relation to requiring the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to issue an annual report regarding hepatitis B and hepatitis C; Intro. 178-A, in relation to price displays for second-hand automobiles; and Intro. 181-A, in relation to notice requirements for hotel development plans.

The first bill, Intro. 419-A, requires the Department of Cultural Affairs to develop a comprehensive cultural plan, which must address several topics related to cultural activities in the City, including: the availability and distribution of cultural activities in the five boroughs, the relationship between cultural activities and social and economic health and welfare, housing and studio needs of artists, and increasing arts education and activities in public schools. The legislation also requires DCLA to establish a Citizens’ Advisory Committee, which will advise the development and implementation of the plan, and will review DCLA’s biannual reports on the progress of the plan – which are also required by the legislation. The plan itself will be reviewed and revised every ten years as necessary, and the CAC will be dissolved after making recommendations following its review of the second biannual report, or after five years. This bill was passed during the Stated Meeting on April 28.

The second bill, Intro. 51-B, requires the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to submit an annual report to the Council Speaker and the Mayor detailing the Department’s efforts to identify and prevent the spread of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. This report will include statistics on new cases of Hepatitis B and C and the prevalence of the diseases, and other information related to the Department’s efforts to identify and prevent the spread of Hepatitis B and C, as well as identifying best practices in current programs that could be implemented by the Department and other entities that address Hepatitis. The report will be made available on DOHMH’s website. This bill was passed during the Stated Meeting on April 28. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsors, Council Members Chin, Johnson, and Koo.

The third bill, Intro. 178-A, requires price displays for used cars to state the total selling price of the vehicle including administrative fees and service fees. The used car industry is consistently at the top of the list of consumer complaints, and this legislation will reduce deceptive practices that involve “bait-and-switch” advertising, high pressure sales tactics, and obscure add-ons that raise the advertised price and result in many of these consumer complaints. Price tags must now state the total price including fees, and note that add-on purchases are optional. This bill was passed during the Stated Meeting on April 27. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Jumaane Williams, and the Chair of the Committee on Consumer Affairs, Council Member Rafael Espinal.

The fourth bill, Intro. 181-A requires the Department of Buildings to provide written notice or notice by e-mail of any proposed hotel to the elected officials and community leaders that would be affected by its construction. This bill was passed during the Stated Meeting on April 27. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Jumaane Williams.

To read a full transcript of the Mayor’s remarks, please click here.

Mayor de Blasio Announces Tentative Contract Agreement with Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association, Local 831

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the City of New York has reached a tentative contract agreement with the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association, Local 831, which covers over 6,000 sanitation workers across the city. This agreement marks the tenth uniformed union to reach a contract agreement with the City, and brings nearly 80 percent of the workforce under contract.

This agreement conforms with the uniformed pattern established in December 2014 with the City’s agreement with the Uniformed Superior Officers Coalition, which represents eight uniformed unions spanning police, fire, sanitation, and corrections officers; in February, the City reached an agreement with the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association. The agreement also incorporates the unprecedented health care savings agreed upon with the Municipal Labor Committee, ensuring that these raises are affordable and responsible for the City and its taxpayers.

The proposed contract provides for 11 percent in raises over seven years, three months, and 30 days. It would begin, retroactively, on September 21, 2011 and expire on January 19, 2019.

As part of the agreement, the City and the union will create a joint Labor-Management Committee on Productivity, which will review existing programs to enhance productivity targets. As announced in OneNYC last month, the City and the union will work together to redesign the collection system to achieve the goal of Zero Waste to landfills by 2030. This includes an expansion of the organics program to serve all New Yorkers by 2018, single-stream recycling by 2020, expanded recycling opportunities, and other new initiatives and technologies that will dramatically improve the collection process.

In total, the MLC and the City have agreed to secure $3.4 billion in health care savings through Fiscal Year 2018 (starting with $400 million in FY 2015 and building up to $1.3 million in FY 2018), and $1.3 billion in recurring savings every year thereafter. These savings are focused on cost-cutting measures that, for the first time, bend the curve of rising health care costs. The City has already detailed the $400 million in savings for FY15. These savings are guaranteed and enforceable by arbitration.

To read a full transcript of the Mayor’s remarks, please click here.

Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Mccray Announce Appointment of Paul Gunther as Executive Director of the Gracie Mansion Conservancy

Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray announced the appointment of Paul Gunther as the executive director of the Gracie Mansion Conservancy. An experienced historical preservationist, civic advocate, and arts programmer, Gunther is charged with bringing a new vision of engagement with Gracie Mansion to New Yorkers.

“2017 marks the 75th anniversary of the LaGuardias’ arrival as the first mayoral residents to Gracie Mansion. With that in mind, now is the ideal time to realize its full potential as a place where history is made and measured,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are thrilled to have Paul join our Gracie Mansion family, and lead the way in forging new paths to experience and interpret the Mansion as a place of discovery.”

A veteran of New York’s land use, arts education, and design world, Gunther joins the Gracie Mansion Conservancy after 35 years as an executive, consultant and author. As executive director of the conservancy, Gunther is tasked with ensuring that not only are the historic fabric and contents of the great 1799 landmark well preserved, but that it thrives in today’s modern society. His first priority is to construct a vision for how New Yorkers can engage with the house and its history, firmly holding it to its mission as “The People’s House.” His responsibilities include planning and implementing public programs and events, engaging the public, overseeing the conservancy’s administration, and fundraising.

Mayor de Blasio Announces New Press Secretary

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that Karen Hinton will join the administration to serve as press secretary, where she will manage the Mayor’s press office and operations.

Phil Walzak, the Mayor’s previous press secretary, was appointed Senior Advisor to the Mayor in February.

“Karen is a battle-tested communications professional who has advocated for progressive ideals her entire career,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Since our days together at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Karen has dedicated her life’s work to addressing inequality. Her appointment complements our outstanding communications team and underscores our commitment to a responsive press operation that clearly communicates this administration’s vision and policies for improving the lives of all New Yorkers. I am pleased to welcome her to our team.”

“I am honored to join this administration and serve a mayor who works tirelessly to lift up the men, women and families of this great city. I look forward to this new role,” said Karen Hinton.

Mayor de Blasio’s Executive Budget Investing $242 Million More in Repaving and Maintaining NYC Roadways

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced an accelerated and expanded resurfacing program that will improve road conditions in every borough. Following an especially harsh winter that took its toll on city streets, Mayor de Blasio committed an additional $242 million to road repaving during the next two fiscal years.

That funding will help repave more than 1,200 lane-miles of roadway from July 2015 through June 2016 – more than any year since 1991 – and 1,300 lane-miles in Fiscal Year 2017. The Mayor made the announcement along Tysens Lane on Staten Island, which alone is projected to see at least an additional 100 lane-miles to be resurfaced over the next two fiscal years.

“This is money well spent. These especially cold winters have been hard on New York City’s streets, and we need to invest big to get them back in good repair. The commitment we’re making is the biggest in 25 years, and it’s something every New Yorker who walks, drives or bikes will see and feel firsthand,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Macy’s and Mayor de Blasio Announce that the 39th Annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks – the Nation’s Largest Independence Day Display- Will Return to Celebrate America’s Birthday Live from New York City this Year from Two Locations on the East River

Macy’s and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that on Saturday, July 4th, the 39th annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks® will rumble to life over New York City, igniting the skyline over the East River with the nation’s largest Independence Day pyrotechnic display. This year, extending to two locations, the show will begin at approximately 9:20 PM and dazzle the shorelines of Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn with an unparalleled spectacle of color, light and sound set to commemorate the holiday with a very big bang!

America’s most explosive party will take place from two locations on the East River in midtown and within the South Street Seaport historic district. Brave, the theme of this year’s show, will fire more than 40,000 pyrotechnic shells during a 25-minute synchronized display. Designed in collaboration with PyroSpectaculars by Souza, the show will be fired from four barges positioned between 23rd and 37th Streets in Midtown and from one double-barge positioned below the Brooklyn Bridge.

“Last year, we brought Macy’s incredible fireworks back to the East River – and this year, with barges up and down the river, even more New Yorkers will be able to take part,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This celebration will light up the sky for millions in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. There’s no question: this will be a dynamite 4th of July for New Yorkers across the city.”

Citywide and Borough Electeds:

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Rules Committee Chair Lander, and City Council to Propose Nomination of Stanley Richards to Board of Correction

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Rules Committee Chair Brad Lander and the New York City Council announced the Council Rules Committee will propose the nomination of Stanley Richards to the New York City Board of Correction.

Stanley Richards, a Senior Vice President at the Fortune Society, has over 20 years of experience helping formerly incarcerated individuals with their re-entry to society. Bringing a wealth of professional experience in re-entry assistance, as well as his own personal experience with the correction system as a formerly incarcerated individual, Mr. Richards would offer unique perspective to the Board of Correction.

“The Council is proud to nominate Stanley Richards to serve on the Board of Correction, where his unique perspective of personal experience with the criminal justice system will provide needed oversight and transparency to New York City’s jail system,” said Speaker Mark-Viverito. “Stanley is an exemplary member of the community who has dedicated his career to helping the formerly incarcerated successfully transition back into society and the Council looks forward to working with Stanley and the entire Board  of Correction as we work together to improve the conditions of New York City’s jails.”

Comptroller Stringer Reaches Settlement for Workers Cheated out of Nearly $1 Million in Prevailing Wages

New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer presented checks to immigrant workers who were cheated out of nearly $1 million in wages for completing structural ironwork on New York City public schools and the Queens Museum.  The payments were made under a prevailing wage settlement that the Comptroller’s office reached with North American Iron Works Inc. (NAIW) and its president and owner.

The Comptroller’s Office sets and enforces prevailing wage and benefit rates on New York City public works projects. NAIW was a subcontractor on twelve projects on which the 33 workers, most of whom were Guyanese immigrants, were employed from January 2010 through February 2012.  The company employed the workers to perform structural ironwork in the construction of eleven schools in Brooklyn, Bronx and Manhattan by the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA), and renovations to the Queens Museum by the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC).

The Comptroller’s investigation revealed that NAIW had willfully committed wage theft. NAIW paid its non-union workers $16 per hour, a fraction of the prevailing wage and benefit rate. The Comptroller’s office took legal action, and ultimately reached a settlement with NAIW requiring them to pay $970,371.24, of which $871,851.96 represents wage and benefit underpayments, $52.311.12 represents interest, and $46,208.16 is payable to New York City as a civil penalty. Additionally, under the settlement terms, NAIW and its president and owner Abdul Karim are also barred from bidding on, or being awarded any public works contracts with the state or with New York City, as contractor or subcontractor, for a period of five years.

The Comptroller is committed to enhancing economic opportunity for all New Yorkers.  Case by case, his office is laser focused on defending workers’ rights to their earned wages by rooting out waste and fraud, and enforcing prevailing wage laws against contractors who violate New York City laws. In 2014, Comptroller Stringer’s BLL assessed over $5.6 million in unpaid prevailing wages with interest for workers and over $500,000 in civil penalties for the City of New York and debarred 15 contractors who had taken advantage of vulnerable workers, a record amount.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Calls on Senate Leader to Disavow “Guns for Rent Laws” Hostage-Taking

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued the following statement in response to a Daily News report indicating some upstate Republican legislators favor holding New York City’s rent laws hostage to win changes to the NY-SAFE Act:

“I was shocked and disturbed to read in today’s Daily News that some upstate Republican legislators are so obsessed with watering down our state’s gun laws, they are willing to hold a gun to New York City tenants’ heads by holding our rent laws hostage.

Brewer recently issued a policy paper outlining her office’s priorities for changes in the rent laws currently under negotiation in Albany. In the paper, Brewer’s office outlines seven key improvements Albany can make to the state’s rent and affordable housing laws as negotiations continue:

  • Eliminate vacancy deregulation
  • Eliminate “bonus” vacancy rent increases
  • Reform the Individual Apartment Increase procedure (IAI) to prevent fraud and abuse
  • Reform the Major Capital Improvement procedure (MCI) to prevent fraud and abuse, and amortize costs rather than allowing permanent rent increases through MCI
  • Reform treatment of “preferential rents”
  • Reform Rent Control to prevent runaway rent increases caused by an outdated formula
  • Fix the often-abused and wasteful 421-a affordable housing tax abatement program by ending “double-dipping,” requiring that “affordable” apartments actually be affordable to local residents, requiring affordable units created through the program be made permanently affordable, and introducing accountability to the new system through transparency and data tracking for projects receiving 421-a benefits.

Details on Brewer’s recommendations can be found here.

City Agencies:

Chancellor Fariña Announces New School Data Tracking Tools to Drive School Improvement and Increase Accountability

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced the release of two innovative, interactive new data tools for school staff that will allow all schools across the City to more easily and accurately measure student progress and use those findings to improve their schools. Using the new tools, principals and teachers – including those at Renewal Schools – will be able to identify and support struggling students earlier than ever before, identify and address performance trends at their school, and track current and former students’ progress over time. The Progress to Graduation Tracker will be available to high schools and transfer high schools, while the School Performance Data Explorer will be available to all schools.

The Progress to Graduation Tracker will act as an early warning system, providing high school educators with real-time information updated daily about which individual students are on-track for college and graduation. The new School Performance Data Explorer – available to all schools – is the first to provide current metrics for all students, including by demographic subgroup and grade to help tailor early interventions and supports for those who need them most. In addition to the brand-new data on current metrics, the School Performance Data Explorer also includes information on how former students are doing academically since they have left the school that was previously provided to schools through the Where Are They Now reports.

Both the Progress to Graduation Tracker and the School Performance Data Explorer are versatile, easy-to-use tools that allow principals to search for – and sort by – certain student characteristics and examine both whole-school and individual-student metrics and trends. These new tools do not require any additional data submissions from schools, as the information included in both tools will be automatically submitted through data collection systems currently in use. Both tools have been developed in-house by the DOE.

Chancellor Fariña Announces Expansion of Teen Thursdays

Chancellor Carmen Fariña joined students from PS 7 Samuel Stern at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to celebrate the expansion of Teen Thursdays, an afterschool initiative that allows middle-school students to take advantage of the rich learning opportunities available at the City’s premier cultural institutions. Next school year, up to 60 middle schools will participate – up from five schools when the program was launched in the 2013-14 school year. 30 schools will participate in the fall and up to 30 different middle schools will participate in the spring.

Participating schools across all five boroughs partner with a local cultural institution to offer students hands-on learning experiences. Principals identify 15-20 students from their 7th– or 8th-grade classes to participate, and the selected students attend afterschool sessions at their partner institution every Thursday for seven weeks. Each cultural institution has an educator who works with the school to develop a historical theme for the sessions that aligns with the skills students are developing in their daily schoolwork. By increasing access to hands-on learning experiences and immersing students in the City’s cultural gems, the program supports student achievement in the classroom and ensures more students are on the path to college, meaningful careers, and a lifetime of learning.

“Teen Thursdays is a great reminder for our middle-schoolers – no matter their zip code or family background – that our City’s amazing museums, galleries, concert halls, and theatres are spaces for them to take advantage of and benefit from,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. In a city like New York, cultural institutions offer our students a chance to enrich and deepen their classroom experiences. Teen Thursdays will encourage students and their families to visit these institutions, and remind them that learning isn’t limited to the classroom.”

HPD: City and State Officials Join the Rockower Corporation, M. Melnick & Co. and Partners to Break Ground on 810 River Avenue in the Bronx

The New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), join Rockower Corp., M. Melnick & Co., Inc. and partners to celebrate the groundbreaking for 810 River Avenue, the first project to benefit from the 161 Street / River Avenue Rezoning.  A green, mixed-use, mixed-income, transit-oriented development, 810 River Avenue will include 134 units of affordable housing for very low-, low-, and middle-income households. The project will also include approximately 26,000 square-feet of commercial and community facility space and a 61-space garage.  The 20,000 square-foot development site is located at 810 River Avenue between 157th & 158th Street in the Bronx, and will help spur residential and commercial development in the area.

The 810 River Avenue development is financed under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough, 10-Year Housing Plan. The most comprehensive affordable housing plan in the City’s history and largest municipal housing plan in the nation, its goal is to create and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing for very low- and middle income families to help address New York City’s  affordability crisis.

“810 River Avenue demonstrates how a rezoning can be a catalyst for mixed-use, mixed-income residential development in transit-rich neighborhoods,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “In order to meet our affordable housing goals, we need to be creative about repurposing underused sites and achieving greater density that is in context with the neighborhood.  This project not only reclaims a brownfield site, it provides an example of how to develop high-quality, residential housing adjoining an elevated train line.  It also contributes to the further revitalization of the South Bronx, locking in affordability and serving as an anchor for future development.  I would like to thank our sister agency HDC, the project developers, Rockower Corporation and M. Melnick & Co., Hudson Housing Capital and Capital One Bank, and other project partners for their vision and hard work.”

HPD: New York City Officials Join Monadnock Development and Partners to Begin Stacking Modules for New York City’s First Micro-Apartment Development

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), New York City Department of City Planning (DCP), and New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) joined Monadnock Development and partners to celebrate the stacking of the first modules in the Carmel Place micro-unit development. The project formerly known as My Micro NY was the winner of the City’s adAPT NYC Competition, a pilot program to develop a new housing model for New York’s growing small-household population. The development team of Monadnock Development LLC, the Lower East Side People’s Mutual Housing Association, and nARCHITECTS was chosen in 2013 through a competitive Request for Proposals to design, construct and operate the micro-unit apartment building which is located on a formerly City-owned site at 335 East 27th Street in Manhattan. The stacking of the pre-fabricated units, which will make up the 11-story, 55-unit Kips Bay development, will be ongoing through the beginning of June.

The adAPT NYC Competition was created to introduce additional choices within New York City’s housing market to accommodate the City’s growing population of one- and two-person households. According to the most recent data from the 2014 New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey (HVS), approximately 64% of the New York City housing stock is comprised of rental units, with one- and two-person households making up about 63% of the renter population. Proposals that were submitted were evaluated on several criteria, including innovative layout and building design.

“With one- and two-person households making up more than 60% of the City’s renters there is a need to explore new ways to accommodate this changing demographic,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “The City’s micro-unit pilot project introduces one possible model to help address the needs of New York’s growing population of small households at the same time it reaches low-income New Yorkers and fosters economic diversity. This modular development uses innovative design to optimize space and maximize the sense of openness in the apartments. I thank DCP and DOB for their partnership throughout the process and for bringing this conversation to the forefront, and the development team for their thoughtful and innovative approach.”

HPD, The DOE Fund, and Partners Announce Start of Construction on New Affordable and Supportive Housing Crotona Park East, The Bronx

New York City-based nonprofit organization The Doe Fund were joined by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and development partners to announce plans for a new 60-unit development located at 1420 Crotona Park East in The Bronx. The soon-to-be constructed eight-story development will include a total of 60 supportive, affordable housing units of which, 36 apartments will be reserved for clients of the city’s HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA). Citi Community Capital, a leading investor in developing communities and neighborhoods, has financed construction. This project will join the existing portfolio of supportive and affordable housing developments operated by The Doe Fund throughout New York City.

“The security of knowing where you will sleep at night is unfortunately not a given for too many New Yorkers,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “The city is committed to do more to finance the creation of new, supportive, and affordable housing opportunities for the most vulnerable among us.  I am proud that HPD’s partnership with The Doe Fund will make possible this new 60 unit, high quality supportive housing development.  Thanks to The Doe Fund, HASA, Citibank, and all of our development partners, soon 60 individuals will begin and end each day knowing they have a safe, secure place to call home.”

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