Last week, Mayor de Blasio’s controversial proposals — Zoning for Quality & Affordability and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing — were the subject of back-to-back City Council hearings. While Community Board 3 joined a chorus of local opposition to the plans last November, City Council member Margaret Chin has repeatedly declined to voice her opinion about the affordable housing initiatives.
Her spokesperson has told us on numerous occasions that Chin would wait until after the hearings to speak out. On Monday night, she started to do just that. The District 1 Council member joined a panel supporting the zoning changes on NY1’s “Inside City Hall.” Here’s what Chin, a lifelong affordable housing activist, had to say:
We all agree that we have a housing crisis. We need more affordable housing, especially for seniors, so we’ve got to work together, get some quick action and find a solution to build as much affordable housing as we can as soon as possible. We have over 200,000 seniors on waiting lists for housing across the city. So seniors cannot wait. We need the affordable housing as quickly as possible.
Zoning for Quality & Affordability would boost height limits in neighborhoods throughout the city. The Mandatory Inclusionary Housing plan would require developers to create 25 or 30 percent affordable housing in newly rezoned areas. A major goal of both initiatives is to create greater incentives to build senior housing. Community Board 3 objected to the proposals, citing fears of out-of-scale development, tenant intimidation and arguing that the changes would produce too few affordable units.
Chin chairs the City Council’s aging committee. Zoning for Quality & Affordability, she said, “could be utilized to build more affordable housing and also to have a continuum of care… You could have senior housing and in the same building you could have assisted living or long-term care, so that the senior could really stay in the neighborhood.”
Speaking more broadly, Chin expressed confidence that demands for more affordable housing for very low-income New Yorkers can be met:
We’re all asking for more opportunity for low-income, moderate-income families to be able to apply for (affordable) housing. That’s why during the hearing, the administration was very good in answering some of (the) questions (that have been raised. There is a need to work) together with the City Council, community boards, local communities to really find the right mix, so that we have opportunities for every single family living in our neighborhoods.
The City Council will vote on the proposals next month.