Dedicated fund will help non-profit and mission-driven organizations acquire rent-stabilized and unregulated buildings to preserve as affordable housing
Mayor de Blasio, Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer, and Housing Development Corporation President Eric Enderlin announced the official launch of the City’s Neighborhood Pillars Program. First announced as part of Housing New York 2.0, the Mayor’s ambitious housing plan to finance 300,000 affordable homes by 2026, Neighborhood Pillars will help finance each stage of the process of acquiring and rehabilitating existing rent-stabilized and unregulated buildings to protect current tenants and preserve affordability in neighborhoods across the city. The Neighborhood Pillars program aims to fund the acquisition and preservation of nearly 7,500 homes over the next eight years, an effort made possible by funding commitments from the Community Preservation Corporation, Wells Fargo Foundation, HDC and HPD in coordination with Neighborhood Restore HDFC.
“We are using every tool available to fight the affordability crisis, and with Neighborhood Pillars, we are adding one more,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Now, non-profit developers will have access to the capital required to purchase buildings and ensure their long-term affordability for over 18,000 New Yorkers.”
“Neighborhood Pillars will help level the playing field for non-profits and mission-driven organizations and will provide the resources needed for these organizations to buy affordable housing in the communities they know best, ” said Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen.
“Preservation is the cornerstone of the Mayor’s housing plan and our efforts to keep New Yorkers in their homes and neighborhoods. Through our new Neighborhood Pillars program, we’re giving community-based organizations the tools they need to compete in a fast-changing market. Now, pre-qualified non-profits will have greater access to the capital and technical assistance they need to purchase rent-stabilized and unregulated buildings and finance their long-term quality and affordability,” said HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “I want to thank our partners at Wells Fargo, CPC, and HDC for their generous support and forward-thinking in our fight to keep this city affordable for generations to come.”
“Local nonprofits are central to protecting the long-term affordability of our city,” said HDC President Eric Enderlin. “The new Neighborhood Pillars program will equip these organizations with the tools they need to compete in today's challenging real estate market and ensure greater housing opportunities for future generations of New Yorkers. I thank all the partners who have contributed to launching this exciting and important new initiative.”
With a commitment of $2 million from Wells Fargo Foundation and $2 million from the Community Preservation Corporation, the City has established a new Down Payment Assistance Fund dedicated to pre-qualified non-profit community-based organizations looking to purchase rent-stabilized and unregulated buildings and finance their rehabilitation and the preservation of their affordability through the new Neighborhood Pillars program.
Changes in the state rent laws over the last few decades, combined with the surging demand for housing, have led to aggressive real estate speculation in rent-stabilized buildings, which provide a critical source of housing for low-income New Yorkers. Although there has been no significant net decline in rent stabilized units over the past decade, the city has experienced a substantial decline in the number of low-cost units. Since 2014, the number of units with contract rents less than $1,500 has declined more than 12 percent or about 160,000 units. Neighborhood Pillars is the latest in a series of efforts to address these issues, and both improve the quality and preserve the long-term affordability of the city’s housing stock.
Community-based non-profit organizations are often well-positioned to identify the buildings most at risk of speculation and rapid turnover, but these organizations often lack the capital needed to make down payments and compete successfully in the acquisition market. The Neighborhood Pillars Down Payment Assistance Fund, the first of its kind, will help level the playing field by providing qualified not-for-profits with technical assistance and capital to use as a down payment or deposit on a contract to acquire properties and cover limited pre-acquisition costs.
The Fund is administered by Restored Homes Development LLC, an affiliate of Neighborhood Restore HDFC, and received critical contributions from Wells Fargo Foundation and CPC. Restored Homes will offer assistance to not-for-profits in sourcing, underwriting, and negotiating potential acquisitions.