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Velazquez Fights to Preserve Affordable Housing for New York City Residents

Velázquez Fights to Preserve Affordable Housing for New York City Residents
January 25, 2007
Press Release

NEW YORK - Late yesterday, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) introduced the first in a series of legislation aimed at increasing the availability of affordable housing in New York City. H.R. 655, "The Pathway to Preservation Act" will make it easier for local governments to purchase HUD-owned buildings that are slated for foreclosure, preserving affordable housing opportunities for low income families in the City, and across the nation.

"Far too many of our residents are finding it virtually impossible to access affordable housing here in New York City," Congresswoman Velázquez said. "Yet, time and time again the Bush administration hinders preservation efforts, in this case by making it more difficult for local governments to purchase HUD properties. That is why this legislation is critical today - it is a step towards restoring the power of local governments in ensuring our families and residents are able to access affordable housing."

The number of apartments affordable to households earning about $32,000 a year, or 80 percent of the median household income in the city, has dropped by 205,000 in just three years. This legislation, developed in conjunction with local housing organizations, would clarify housing law to ensure that properties are more accurately appraised, requiring HUD to take into account the cost of repairs and current affordability requirements. Failing to do so dramatically hinders the ability of local governments' and subsequent housing preservation developers' ability to maintain their city's stock of affordable housing.

H.R. 655 takes steps that increase affordable housing structures to local governments and, in turn, to their residents. With existing housing exceedingly expensive and limited in New York, it is critical that affordable structures are not allowed to simply slip away. The Pathway to Preservation Act would ensure local governments have the resources available to safeguard residents living in reasonably priced apartments, providing tenants with a sense of security that they will be able to stay put with their families.

"In order to ensure our City's residents have access to affordable housing, it is critical that local governments have every opportunity to preserve those properties that are already affordable," Congresswoman Velázquez said. "This is the first of many steps I will take in the 110th Congress to combat our City's growing housing crisis."