New York Times: $350 Million for New York’s Affordable Housing Effort

New York Times
July 30, 2014
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday announced a commitment of $350 million of public and private funding to pay for the renovation of 7,500 apartments, in what he called a “major step” toward his 10-year goal of 200,000 new or rehabilitated homes for lower- and middle-income New Yorkers.
A new revolving loan fund will focus on buildings with 20 to 100 units, Mr. de Blasio said, “because those are the backbone of so many neighborhoods that working people live in in this city.”
For a family struggling to make it, he added, “nothing can be more life-changing” than obtaining an affordable unit. “It sets that family on an entirely different course.”
The mayor said the buildings would receive upgrades, including “energy retrofits,” to make apartments more cost-efficient for residents as well as “better for our environment.”
After campaigning for mayor as a critic of Wall Street, and antagonizing many in the industry by trying to tax the wealthiest New Yorkers to pay for prekindergarten expansion, Mr. de Blasio on Wednesday emphasized the importance to the city of corporate citizens like Citigroup, which led a group of banks that contributed $290 million to the fund, putting in $75 million itself.
“I want to let them know they’re going to have a lot more business with this administration,” the mayor said of Citigroup.
The city’s pension funds are adding $40 million, and its Housing Development Corporation is putting up another $20 million.
The city comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, said the pension funds would earn 2.75 percent on their investment — far less than the 17.4 percent return the funds earned in the fiscal year that ended June 30. But, he said, it was “a sound investment” nonetheless.
The Community Preservation Corporation, a nonprofit lender that finances housing projects for low- and moderate-income families, will administer the fund, officials said at a news conference at a Bronx apartment building renovated by the corporation under a similar fund.
Rafael E. Cestero, the corporation’s chief executive and a former city housing commissioner, said that in the Bronx, the fund would be used for projects like 127-131 West 170th Street, a three-building failed co-op that was gutted and rebuilt as if brand new, at a cost of $7.8 million. A third of the units will be ready in September, Mr. Cestero said.