Sunday, February 21, 2016
De Blasio wants to turn churches into developers
From DNA Info:
Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration is reaching out to clergy members across the city to see if they want to partner with private developers to convert underused parking lots, buildings and other church properties into affordable housing.
"There may be some houses of worship that may be in a position to help," with the mayor's housing plan that promises to create or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing by 2024, said Jonathan Soto who works specifically with clergy across the city on behalf of the mayor.
"It could be any house of worship interested in developing their property," Soto said.
The effort might involve wrangling non-profit developers, helping direct funding toward projects, getting involvement from local politicians and helping churches navigate the city's land use process, mayoral spokesman Wiley Norvell said.
"We’re taking every opportunity to build more affordable housing, and many of our faith communities have been deeply involved in affordable housing for decades," Norvell said, adding that though there's currently no specific formula for how the administration plans on working with churches.
While the administration has begun to look at church-owned property for affordable development, an audit released Thursday by Comptroller Scott Stringer found that the city owns more than 1,100 vacant lots that it could be using for housing.