Richard Barth and Claire Altman are Key Participants
On February 18, 2015, The Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute hosted an important affordable housing conference that highlighted Mayor de Blasio’s ambitious affordable housing agenda. The conference, entitled “Implementing Affordable: New York’s Affordable Housing Crisis” was organized by the Institute and Richard Barth, Senior Advisor for Housing and Land Use Strategies with Capalino and the former Executive Director of the New York City Planning Department. Claire Altman, Director of Affordable and Supportive Housing Development Services, also at Capalino, was a featured speaker.
“I appreciated the opportunity to work with the Newman Institute and city agencies in putting this important conference together,” said Richard Barth. “These kinds of forums are essential to advancing the discussion and working together on the Mayor’s affordable housing goals. “
The conference program featured key Administration personnel charged with implementing the most expansive and ambitious affordable housing agenda in the country, as well as representatives from the private and non-profit sectors, all of whom will be critical to the plan’s ultimate success.
Richard Barth moderated the first panel discussion which focused on planning and zoning issues critical to implementing the Mayor’s housing plan. Claire Altman, who spent 19 years at the helm of Housing & Services, Inc. discussed the importance of providing housing for senior, veterans, and other low income populations, and highlighted a range of support services essential for long term success.
“To make the investment in housing that Mayor de Blasio is calling for a success- on all fronts-we need to do more than build housing – we need to be willing to experiment with new housing models.” said Claire.
In furthering his commitment to a more equitable city, Mayor de Blasio last May announced an unprecedented 10-year plan to develop and preserve 200,000 affordable housing units across all five boroughs. In his recent State of the City address, only a few weeks before the conference, the Mayor emphasized the urgency of creating and preserving affordable housing, and he articulated aggressive new strategies to meet these goals.
Capalino has recently expanded its staff to build an integrated team of professionals specifically to assist clients – both for-profit and not-for-profit — in building and preserving affordable and market rate housing and mixed-use buildings across the city.
Vision, Planning, and Zoning
Moderated by Richard Barth, the first panel focused on planning and zoning issues critical to implementing the plan. Daniel Hernandez, Deputy Commissioner, Office of Neighborhood Strategies at HPD, and Howard Slatkin, Deputy Executive Director of Strategic Planning at City Planning, discussed specific steps their agencies are taking to make the 200,000 units a reality. Daniel discussed changes to the inclusionary housing program, building community partnerships, and a renewed focus on neighborhood planning. Howard also focused on their neighborhood planning approach, as well as discussing the need for zoning text changes to remove obstacles to affordable and senior housing development and to reduce the cost of housing.
Last week, the Department of City Planning released detailed zoning text proposals for the Mayor’s Housing New York Plan that Richard Barth described in detail. To read the full blog post, click HERE
In her remarks, Claire Altman noted the poverty rate in New York City, and the importance of providing not just housing, but the range of support services essential for long term success. She suggested new models and housing types that should be considered as we come up with creative ways for housing senior, veterans, and other low income populations.
To read Claire’s full remarks and view here PowerPoint presentation, click HERE
Finally, Aaron Koffman, Director of Affordable Housing for the Hudson Companies, Inc. discussed the challenges of building affordable housing in an environment of rising land costs, and finding suitable parcels for development.
Financing and Implementation
Jolie Milstein, President and CEO of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing chaired the second panel whose primary focus was on financing for affordable housing.
Richard Froehlich, the COO for the Housing Development Corporation discussed some of the new programs for financing affordable housing, and a focus on households with incomes between $30,000 and $60,000, while providing for a broader range to include workforce housing. He noted that the city provides more funding for affordable housing than anywhere else in the country.
Chuck Brass, Partner with Forsyth Street Advisors, Paul Freitag, Managing Director, Jonathan Rose Companies, and William Stein, Principal, Dattner Architects, all discussed different aspects of affordable housing financing and development. They noted the importance of streamlining reviews, including the inclusionary housing program, simplifying requirements, and the importance of preservation.
Featured Presentation by Peter Lobo, City Planning
To further frame the overall discussion by panelists, Peter Lobo, Deputy Director for the Population Division at City Planning, provided an overview of demographic changes we can expect over the next 25 years. These include a growing population from the city’s current record high of 8.4 million people to 9 million by 2040. Moreover, he noted the continuing trend toward smaller household sizes, the increasing rent burden on households, and a significant increase (40 percent) in the population over 65.
To see Peter Lobo’s powerpoint presentation, click HERE
Keynote Address by Vicki Been, Commissioner
Vicki Been, Commissioner of New York City Housing Preservation and Development, kicked off the program with a keynote address describing the overall plan, the success to-date since the Plan’s release in May, and major changes and new initiatives she is undertaking to help achieve the aggressive goals laid out in the coming years. She noted that during the first year, they had surpassed their goal of 16,000 new and preserved affordable units. To build on this, they are remaking and fine-tuning financing programs, the city is increasing its direct capital commitment to $8 billion over the 10-year period, and HPD is modifying the inclusionary housing regulations, as well as taking a more comprehensive approach with other agencies to building neighborhoods. She noted the importance of using land more effectively, and also announced new initiatives to combat displacement.
Capalino will continue to monitor the Mayor’s commitment to developing and preserving affordable and supportive housing. We will to work with all stakeholders, keep abreast of financing, regulatory and policy changes, and participate in these kinds of events so that we are poised to assist clients in navigating the new affordable housing environment and to help ensure your organization’s success in building and preserving housing in the City.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter here to keep up with the latest news in NYS.