Tenants, Cooperators, and Advocates Join in Call for Temporary State Commission to Stem Loss of Housing Programs for Moderate- and Low- Income Families

June 15, 2007

With New York State losing affordable housing at an alarming rate, State Senators Thomas K. Duane (D, WFP-Manhattan) and Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) today called for immediate passage of their legislation, S6120, which would mandate a moratorium on Mitchell-Lama and other affordable housing buyouts, as well as create a temporary state commission to evaluate the loss of existing units in these affordable housing programs.

Tom Duane

Duane and Krueger were joined by bill co-sponsor Martin Connor (D-Manhattan), housing advocates and residents of such state and locally aided developments as Brooklynfs Cadman Plaza and Manhattanfs East Midtown Plaza, which are in imminent danger of converting to market rate. Advocacy organizations represented included the Community Service Society, Housing Conservation Coordinators, Citywide Task Force on Housing Court, Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, the Bridge Fund, Met Council on Housing, Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, Tenants and Neighbors and TenantsPAC.

According to Senator Duane, gAmong other factors fueling the erosion of New Yorkfs affordable housing stock is the fact that thousands of Mitchell-Lama and other state and locally aided, limited equity cooperative and rental apartments are facing extinction. In many cases, such housing has fallen into disrepair or is being rendered unaffordable due to esunsetf provisions that allow landlords to opt out and impose dramatic rent increases, or in the case of cooperatives, allow shareholders to privatize and sell for windfall profits.h

Added Senator Krueger, gFor more than a half a century, New York State and it localities have invested in the creation of low and middle income housing to both benefit those most in need and support state and local economies. As landlords and cooperators dissolve these companies and cash out, the State and local governments not only lose those benefits, but also fail to get any reimbursement for the enhanced value made possible by their contributions.h

Duane added that many housing advocates have called for a moratorium on the dissolution of the types of housing companies covered by this bill to avert the impending loss of such developments as Starrett City (Brooklyn), Southbridge Towers (Manhattan) and Castleton Park (Staten Island), which collectively house thousands of low and middle income New Yorkers. gIn fact,h Duane said, gthis bill goes a step further. When the term of the commission and the moratorium it establishes expires, New York State will have a blueprint for the preservation, modernization, and expansion of such affordable developments now and into the future.h

S6120 was introduced by Duane and Krueger on June 11 and is cosponsored by Senators Breslin, Connor, Diaz, Montgomery, Onorato, Perkins, Sabini, Savino, Schneiderman and Smith. It is currently in the Senate Finance Committee.

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