NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York City created or preserved over 24,500 affordable homes last year, breaking a record for the nation’s biggest city, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday. The previous record was just over 23,100, in 1989.
De Blasio, who was re-elected last year, has made affordable housing a centerpiece of his two mayoral campaigns. He promoted the milestone at the Cypress Hills Senior Residences in Brooklyn, where he stood alongside 79-year-old Jasper Hurst who signed the lease for an apartment in the new complex.
“I feel like that I was given the key to the city,” Hurst said.
The city invested over $1 billion in affordable apartments last year. The effort mostly preserved affordable homes — over 17,300 of them. Another 7,200 new ones were created.
De Blasio said, “163,905 New Yorkers who four years ago did not have affordable housing now have it.”
Nearly half the homes financed rent at levels affordable to an individual making about $33,400 per year, or $43,000 for a family of three.
The city has preserved or created over 87,500 affordable homes in the last four years.
“Not only did we generate the most affordable housing in a single calendar year – a full half of those homes will serve extremely and very low-income New Yorkers,” said Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer.
Outreach efforts include a new housing web portal and ads promoting resources to help people apply for affordable housing, fight eviction and freeze their rent.
The mayor’s Public Engagement Unit has made over 280,000 door knocks and phone calls to tell residents about their rights and how to get repairs, legal services and rental assistance.
Among those listening to the mayor’s remarks was Tricia Jeter, whose family was relocated after another ceiling collapse inside their apartment at the Weeksville Gardens Public Housing Development in Crown Heights.
But their new place has a leaky toilet and no furniture.
“I don’t understand that, I really don’t and it’s not acceptable to me,” de Blasio said.
Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said they are working on getting beds into the temporary housing.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)