UPDATE: As expected, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s State of the City speech last night was focused largely on the affordability crisis in the city and on creating new jobs. He outlined expansions on existing programs, and pointed to new initiatives like the plan to create a fashion hub in Sunset Park that would create 1,500 new jobs. But the thrust of his speech focused on how to make the city more affordable for all.

“This affordability crisis threatens who we are, threatens the very soul of this city,” Mayor de Blasio said in his speech. We have to right some wrongs. We have to fight an inequality that has grown. I’m very proud to say we have the biggest affordable housing plan in the history of the city but I also have to tell you we have to go even farther.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio will address the city this evening from the Apollo Theater in Harlem for his annual State of the City speech, and affordable housing seems to be right at the top of his agenda.

“We are taking our record progress on affordable housing and driving it even deeper, De Blasio said in a statement released last week. “This crisis is hitting seniors on fixed incomes, veterans and struggling families especially hard. We’re fighting for their right to live in this city,”

To address that, De Blasio will allocate $1.9 billion towards creating 10,000 additional units of affordable housing over the coming years. About half of these will be set aside for seniors, and 500 will be reserved for veterans. These affordable apartments will be particularly targeted towards New Yorkers making less than $40,000/year.

“There is no issue more on the minds of New Yorkers than the need for more affordable housing, with our seniors being at risk of having to choose between food or rent, being evicted or even becoming homeless,” Donna Corrado, the commissioner of the Department of Aging, said in a statement.

This latest effort is part of Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York Plan, to build and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over 10 years. To that end, the de Blasio administration has created 62,500 affordable apartments in the first three years of his tenure.

Over the weekend, the De Blasio administration also announced plans to push forward legislation that would ensure representation for low-income tenants in housing court, Gothamist reported.

The administration has set aside $90 million to fund this effort, and it will for the most part help families making less than $50,000/year (for a family of four). At present about 90 percent of tenants coming to housing court are without an attorney, and this will ensure that about 80 percent of the cases coming before the housing court will have legal representation for tenants, according to Gothamist.

Finally, the mayor is also trying to push his Mansion Tax proposal forward. This would add a 2.5 percent tax on residential sales over $2 million, which De Blasio says will help fund the city’s Elder Rent Assistance program, which will provide up to $1,300/month to senior New Yorkers.

The Mayor’s office will livestream the State of the City speech beginning at 7 p.m. today.

Via NY Curbed. Read the original article here.

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