$350M From Citigroup, Pension Funds and Other Banks to Boost Affordable Housing

Photo via Getty Images

Photo via Getty Images

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $350 public-private partnership to renovate and build affordable housing throughout the city Wednesday, a step toward his goal of creating or preserving 200,000 units of affordable housing in a decade.

The capital money — invested by the Citigroup, the New York City Retirement Systems, the New York City Housing Development Corporation and several other banks, will allow the Community Preservation Corporation to acquire, construct or rehab some 7,500 units of housing affordable citywide, the mayor’s office said.

“For that one family that gets an affordable unit, that was stressed and trying somehow to make it in this city and constantly struggling to get the money together for rent, that family that finally gets an affordable unit – nothing can be more life changing,” Mr. de Blasio promised at a Bronx press conference. “It sets that family on an entirely different course. And every single one of the units we create will have that profound impact on the families of this city. That’s why this work is so crucial.”

Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat heaped praise on the mayor’s affordable housing plan — saying it was vital to keep New York home to people of all backgrounds. But he emphasized the bank’s decision to finance affordable housing wasn’t in the name of charity.

“I want to make clear that this isn’t philanthropy.  This is a business decision, as well as an investment in our hometown,” Mr. Corbat said.

Rafael Cestero, president of the Community Preservation Corporation, said the money would go to good use.

“More people are not going to get pushed out of their apartments because they have rents that they can no longer pay. And neighborhoods are going to be stabilized,” he said.

Mr. Stringer said investing $40 million in city pension funds into affordable housing was a way for leaders to put their money where their mouths are.

“We cannot have a city with enclaves for the very very rich and also enclaves for the very very poor. We have got to change this dynamic,” he said. “So this fund will allow CPC to provide construction loans to all type of developers across the five boroughs. And we’re very excited to be part of this.”

Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been said the city’s making good progress towards its 200,000 affordable unit goal, closing on 8,700 units in June.

“We knew that the first year we wouldn’t be completely ramped up, but we’re ramping up incredibly quickly and feel very positive about the progress that we’re making,” she said.