From the NY Times:
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has changed the blueprint of his affordable housing plan to preserve more such homes but build fewer of them, a shift that nonetheless will still cost the city $1 billion more than originally anticipated.
The revamped New Housing Marketplace Plan, as the initiative is called, will now cost $8.5 billion to create or preserve 165,000 affordable homes by 2014, city officials said. Most of the extra funds will come from the city’s Housing Development Corporation, which issues bonds for the housing.
The city plans to ensure that an additional 32,000 units stay affordable for the next 30 years or so, protecting vulnerable lower-income New Yorkers from the next housing boom. In 2005, the city said it would build 92,000 units and preserve 73,000 by 2014. Now, it expects to build 60,000 and preserve 105,000.
The city’s definition of preserving affordable apartments means that its housing agencies refinance and renovate buildings in return for keeping rents locked in for long periods, usually decades, as opposed to letting the units rent or sell at market rates.
Most of the affordable units that the city plans to concentrate on will be occupied by New Yorkers who earn less than 80 percent of the area’s median income. Affordability means that 30 percent or less of their wages would go to rent. Rafael E. Cestero, the city’s housing commissioner, said that mortgages of many of the affordable rental buildings built in the 1980s were coming due, giving the city a chance to issue new ones with long-term affordability as a condition.