One-on-One Financial and Technical Assistance for Small Multifamily Building Owners in East Harlem
New York – New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), El Barrio’s Operation Fight Back Inc. (EBOF), and Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. (Enterprise) are hosting a Neighborhood Preservation HelpDesk today for multifamily building owners. This is the latest in a series of HelpDesk events to assist owners of small rental buildings (between five and 50 units) who are interested in finding information on funding for repairs and upgrades, resources to save on operating and energy costs, and tax exemption programs. The HelpDesk will be held at El Barrio’s Artspace PS 109 in East Harlem, an abandoned public school building transformed with financial assistance from HPD into affordable live/work housing and an arts facility.
The Neighborhood Preservation HelpDesk is an initiative of HPD, CPC, and Enterprise. Many small building owners operate on thin margins and lack the funding needed to provide for significant repairs and upgrades to ensure the sustainability of their aging properties. The HelpDesk provides a user-friendly, one-stop shop model to bring information about low-cost financing and other resources directly to owners in their neighborhoods. Housing specialists will be on hand to answer questions, identify appropriate funding sources for building improvements, and provide guidance on a range of preservation resources, including city preservation financing programs, violation clearance and property registration, tax abatement programs, energy efficiency programs, and private financing programs with favorable terms for affordable housing.
“Preserving and creating affordable housing in El Barrio/East Harlem is one of my priorities,” said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito. “I welcome the Neighborhood Preservation HelpDesk in East Harlem as part of a larger effort to preserve the identity of El Barrio. We have been leading and engaging the community through the Neighborhood Planning process to make sure that the voices of our people lead the rezoning process. Events like this are part of our commitment to preventing residential displacement as we plan for the future of our community.”
“Small buildings are a critical source of stable, affordable homes for New York families,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “Reaching small building owners, who too often can’t afford to make necessary repairs and investments or aren’t aware of the resources available to them, is a key goal of the Mayor’s Housing New York Plan. The Neighborhood Preservation HelpDesk is an important step to closing this gap, providing owners with the financial resources and technical assistance needed to improve their properties and provide long-term savings that will help keep their properties affordable for tenants. I thank New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, CPC, Enterprise, and organizations like El Barrio’s Operation Fight Back for their partnership in this effort to preserve the health, sustainability, and affordability of our City’s housing stock and neighborhoods.”
Currently, 400,000 apartments in buildings with less than 50 units provide stable affordable housing to 50 percent of New York City’s low- and moderate-income renters, but the owners of these buildings are often not taking advantage of any publicly available low-cost financing opportunities. Additionally, 85 percent of these units were built before 1973 and are likely in need of repair and upgrades.
Simultaneously, New York City is facing an affordable housing crisis, with more than 50 percent of the City’s renters rent-burdened, paying more than one third of their income towards rent, and more than 30 percent of the City’s renters severely rent-burdened because they are paying 50 percent or more of their household income for rent. This is compounded by an extreme shortage of affordable rental units, especially at the lowest income bands. For every 100 renters at 30 percent or less of Area Median Income (AMI), there are only about 30 affordable units available; in East Harlem, there are only about 49 affordable units available. To effectively address this crisis, the City has made preserving affordable housing through targeted, neighborhood-based investments, a central commitment of the Housing New Yorkplan.
“Providing low-cost financing and technical assistance to owners of small buildings not only ensures the long-term sustainability of their buildings, but also provides stability for low- and moderate-income families and the neighborhoods in which they live,” said Judi Kende, Vice President and New York Market Leader, Enterprise. “With 600,000 New Yorkers housing insecure and thousands of rent-stabilized apartments lost each year to deregulation and speculation, it is imperative that we leverage every tool at our disposal–including public-private partnerships like the HelpDesk—to preserve affordable housing, keep local families in their homes, and support New York’s diverse group of responsible landlords.”
“Most small building owners don’t have access to the resources that are available to large developers. Generally they’re individuals and families that own one or two buildings operating on relatively thin margins, trying to make ends meet despite constantly rising costs,” said Rafael E. Cestero, President and CEO, CPC. “With its one-stop shop model, the Neighborhood Preservation HelpDesk is designed to give these owners easy access to the financial and technical resources they need to keep their buildings in good condition and affordable to their tenants.”
“For over 30 years, El Barrio’s Operation Fight Back, Inc. has been fighting for the preservation and development of affordable housing for the East Harlem community, so we are happy to support the HelpDesk, which is very much consistent with our mission,” said Gus Rosado, Executive Director, EBOF. “We have enjoyed long standing relationships with the partners involved and we look forward to continuing our work with them, as well as with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the leaders of the de Blasio administration to sponsor more affordable housing preservation and development for the community. We hope the landlord community will take advantage of this opportunity and come to the building at 215 East 99th Street and learn how to access HPD’s assistance programs.”
For more information about the Neighborhood Preservation HelpDesk, please visithelpdesknyc.org.
About the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)
HPD is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers through education, outreach, loan and development programs, and enforcement of housing quality standards. HPD is tasked with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough Ten-Year Plan to build and preserve 200,000 affordable units for New Yorkers at the very lowest incomes to those in the middle class. For more information visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us viawww.facebook.com/nychpd and www.twitter.com/nychousing.
About The Community Preservation Corporation
The Community Preservation Corporation, Inc. (CPC) is a non-profit lender providing reliable capital to underserved neighborhoods throughout New York State since 1974. A nationally recognized leader in affordable housing finance, CPC is committed to delivering financing and technical expertise, and to working with community partners to create and preserve affordable housing. To date, CPC has invested more than $9 billion in over 159,000 units of housing. For more information, please visit www.communityp.com.
About Enterprise Community Partners
Enterprise works with partners nationwide to build opportunity. We create and advocate for affordable homes in thriving communities linked to jobs, good schools, health care and transportation. We lend funds, finance development and manage and build affordable housing, while shaping new strategies, solutions and policy. Over more than 30 years, Enterprise has created nearly 340,000 homes, invested $18.6 billion and touched millions of lives. Join us at www.EnterpriseCommunity.com or www.EnterpriseCommunity.org.
Contact: Eric Bederman, VP/Communications
212-895-5300, ext. 482 [email protected]