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City Releases Draft of East Harlem Housing Plan

125th and Park Avenue, a section of East Harlem, or “El Barrio.” 125th and Park Avenue, a section of East Harlem, or “El Barrio.”

NEW YORK CITY—The New York City Department of Housing Preservation has released a draft plan for East Harlem that calls for expediting the development of more than 2,000 units of affordable housing there.

New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer notes the East Harlem Housing Plan has four central goals: preserve existing affordable housing, develop new affordable housing, increase access to affordable housing and promote economic opportunity.

With the rezoning plan in the works along with the new Second Avenue subway station, demand for affordable housing in East Harlem has ramped up of late.

“The East Harlem Housing Plan charts a path forward for the future of housing and economic opportunity in East Harlem, guided by extensive community engagement,” says HPD Commissioner Torres-Springer. “This initial blueprint seeks to put community priorities at the forefront as we work to preserve, develop, and increase access to affordable housing while promoting economic opportunity for residents.”

Among the key facets of the housing plan include a commitment by the city to expedite construction of more than 2,400 affordable homes on publicly owned land in East Harlem. In addition, HPD will work to implement mandatory inclusionary housing in the area to require all new residential developments include permanently affordable homes. This will be coupled with financing to incentivize the creation of affordable housing that exceeds what is required under MIH, the agency notes.

Since 2003, HPD has financed the construction or preservation of 13,000 units of affordable housing in East Harlem. Along with 15,000 apartments managed by NYCHA, East Harlem has one of the largest concentrations of rent-regulated housing in New York City.

The agency also plans to introduce a number of programs and strategies to preserve affordability in East Harlem and ensure that both landlords and tenants have access to the wide array of resources at their disposal as part of the housing plan.

The release of the housing plan follows the launch of the public review component of the city’s East Harlem Initiative and builds off of the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan, a community-based vision for the future of the neighborhood.

Back in April the East Harlem Initiative took a major step forward as the land use portion of the multi-pronged initiative began the formal public review process. City Planning Commission Chair Marisa Lago reported the zoning changes included in the initiative covering key streets in a 96-block area would spur the development of as many as 3,500 units of housing, a significant proportion of which must be permanently affordable under the MIH program.


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