New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Affordable Housing

Affordable housing development must seek a better balance between market rate and affordable housing. Pioneers who have built our neighborhoods must not be forced to leave because they are victims of their own success, their housing should remain affordable so that they may realize the fruits of their labor.<br><br>As former Chief of Staff for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/apartment/mitchell-lama.shtml&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>Mitchell-Lama</strong></a>&nbsp;Subcommittee Chair,&nbsp;<a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/ad=073&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>Assemblyman Jonathan L. Bing</strong></a>, I know the current issues facing affordable housing. I had the opportunity to work on the next generation of progressive&nbsp;<a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/bn=A00860&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>legislation</strong></a>&nbsp;that would scale certain rent regulations to the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bls.gov/CPI/&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>consumer price index</strong></a>, so that new laws are always current and housing remains affordable for generations to come. But there is more to do and as your City Council member I will continue this work by reforming rent regulation, using market indices like the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bls.gov/CPI/&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>consumer price index</strong></a>, and expanding affordable housing.<br><br>In addition to fixing affordable housing and rent regulation laws, we must also create a centralized affordable housing resource. Affordable housing must be&nbsp;<strong>transparent</strong>, with easily accessible and searchable lists by address and qualification, rather than having to search through over a dozen different programs and agencies. We must&nbsp;<strong>open</strong>&nbsp;affordable housing by creating an easy centralized application process. Lastly, the waiting lists for all affordable housing must be publicly available to provide&nbsp;<strong>accountability</strong>&nbsp;where these waiting lists have been previously abused.

New York Daily News Open textbooks, in more ways than one: Save money and increase educational diversity with high-quality, up-to-date, learning options by By BEN KALLOS and CLAYTON BANKS

Open textbooks, in more ways than one: Save money and increase educational diversity with high-quality, up-to-date, learning options

Facing $800 million in proposed cuts to public schools, New York City is slated to continue spending $84 million a year on textbooks. That number is staggering, especially given that many of the textbooks are older than the teachers using themlargely Eurocentric and in some cases dictated by partisan politics. We can make these learning materials more reflective of New York City’s diversity and put limited resources to better use by adopting open textbooks.

More commonly known as “open educational resources” (OER), open textbooks are free for educators to use, customize to their students’ needs and backgrounds and share with others. Open textbooks are freely available from nonprofit groups like CK12OER Commons and OpenStax, and many are peer-reviewed and vetted for quality.

Upper East Side Patch Council Rep To Hold Info Session On Roosevelt Island Apt Lottery by Brendan Krisel

Council Rep To Hold Info Session On Roosevelt Island Apt Lottery

ROOSEVELT ISLAND, NY — Roosevelt Island's representative in the City Council is hosting an information session with the developers of a new development on the island about a lottery for more than 300 below-market units in the building.

Councilman Ben Kallos, who also represents the Upper East Side, will educate residents on how to apply for apartments at the new Hudson Related development River Walk Park. The Roosevelt Island development is offering units to people earning 40, 50, 80, 130 and 165 percent of the area median income. The city Department of Housing Preservation and Development classifies these income levels as ranging from "very-low income to middle income."

The info session will be held Tuesday, June 30 at 6 p.m., just about one week before the housing lottery's July 6 application deadline, according to Kallos' office. Those interested in attending can sign up for the virtual event on the councilmember's website.

Letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio proposing $15.24 billion in potential savings and revenue in order to invest $827 million in spending on programs that support children, families, seniors, and our planet

Monday, June 15, 2020

As we face unprecedented times and a budget that must-see painful cuts, we should look for possible waste and opportunities for revenues and savings. I have proposed $15.24 billion in potential savings and revenue for our city’s budget in order to invest $827 million in spending on programs that support children, families, seniors, and our planet that will reduce costs and generate revenues. 

New York Times 25 Million Applications: The Scramble for N.Y.C. Affordable Housing by Matthew Haag

25 Million Applications: The Scramble for N.Y.C. Affordable Housing

[F]or many New Yorkers, the most desirable jackpot is not the New York Lotto, but to be selected in the city’s extraordinarily competitive affordable-housing lottery. Tens of thousands of people, and sometimes many more, vie for the handful of units available at a time. Since 2013, there have been more than 25 million applications submitted for roughly 40,000 units....

While the lottery website’s user interface will have an entirely new design, the most significant changes are under the hood. After applicants create profiles stating their household size and household income, which together determine a person’s eligibility, they will be shown apartments that they are most likely to qualify for.

That is a significant change from the old system, in which applicants typically applied to every building on the lottery site without knowing if they were even eligible. That process led some units to receive more than 100,000 applicants, most of whom would never find out that they were ineligible from the beginning.

There were other major problems too, like the site randomly crashing and freezing. City officials said the entire lottery system has been upgraded to improve its usability and stability.

“One of the biggest frustrations was people not hearing if you were accepted and not hearing if you were rejected,” said Luis Daniel Caridad, an assistant director at GOLES, an organization on the Lower East Side of Manhattan that helps people apply for affordable housing. “We’ve been told that it has been fundamentally changed, and we are hopeful.”

For years, the housing lottery only included newly constructed units. When someone moved into one and then left, the vacated apartments did not return to the lottery. Buildings kept their own waiting lists, leading to allegations to those with political connections or who paid bribes could cut in line.

Some of those vacant units will now be entered in the lottery, allowing everyone to be made aware when they become available. Councilman Ben Kallos, who wrote the legislation that requires past rentals to return to the lottery, said the change would eventually bring thousands of units back into the lottery every month.

“Before this, you had waiting lists and you had folks who might be politically connected with an official who knew buildings that had affordable housing,” said Mr. Kallos, a Democrat who represents the Upper East Side of Manhattan. “This means that all the vacant units in the system will be re-rented quickly.” ...

The Real Deal Midtown East condo tower could face big height cut following court order on 200 Amsterdam by Staff

Midtown East condo tower could face big height cut following court order on 200 Amsterdam

From left: 200 Amsterdam Avenue, New York City Council Member Ben Kallos and 430 East 58th Street (Credit: Google Maps, Getty Images)

Council member seeks to halve height of 430 West 58th Street

Last Thursday, a judge issued an extraordinary court order requiring the deconstruction of 20-some floors on a Upper West Side condo tower. While the developers have already announced plans to appeal, the decision has renewed hopes for opponents of similar supertall towers elsewhere in Manhattan.

City Council Member Ben Kallos, whose district covers much of Midtown East and the Upper East Side, told the New York Post that his office is going to file a motion to reargue a zoning exemption for Gamma Real Estate’s 430 East 58th Street, using the UWS decision as a basis.

“We’re relying on the judiciary to enforce the law even if the Department of Buildings or the developers don’t think it applies to them,” Kallos said. The council member would like to see the condo tower’s height reduced from 847 feet to less than 400, an even more drastic reduction than that facing 200 Amsterdam Avenue.