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.

Kallos Testimony at Hearing on Affordable Housing Development: To examine programs supporting affordable housing development, including policies relating to building density

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

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Testimony before the Assembly Standing Committee on Housing and Cities

Hearing on Affordable Housing Development: To examine programs supporting affordable housing development, including policies relating to building density

Monday, November 25, 2019

The last thing New York City needs is more density for taller towers in the largely overbuilt borough of Manhattan. Raising or removing the 12 FAR cap in New York State’s Multiple Dwelling Law (MDL) would displace immigrants and historic communities of color living in existing rent-regulated housing that is actually affordable. That displacement would make way for luxury super tall buildings for billionaires living atop a handful of affordable units in their shadow.

I represent the Upper East Side, with the three densest zip codes in America: 10162 with 151,835, 10028 with 126,068, and 10128 with 122,357 people per square mile. Only one residential zoning district in the City of New York has the maximum floor area ratio, and that is R10. More than 90% of those R10 lots, lot area, and buildable floor area are in Manhattan.

Counter-intuitively, the Upper East Side’s Council District 5, which I represent, consists of more than three-quarters affordable and/or regulated housing. The district’s housing stock consists of 60.5% rent stabilized, 17.3% subsidized, and 1.5% public housing for a total of 92,785 affordable homes, according to the Displacement Alert Project. Manhattan Community District 8, which includes the entire Upper East Side, has a density of 109,960 people per square mile, spanning 2 square miles housing 219.9 thousand people, according to City Planning. It is of note that given the high concentration of affordable housing in rent stabilized, four-to-six story walk ups, the path to building new housing includes demolishing many of these 100% affordable housing buildings, sometimes resulting in a net loss of affordable housing.

In contrast, Queens Community District 11, represented by Assembly Committee on Cities Chair Edward Braunstein, has a density of 12,386 people per square mile over 9.4 square miles, with 116.4 thousand total people. In Queens Community District 11, there is no public housing, 9,323 units of rent stabilized housing and 8,027 units of subsidized housing for a total of 17,350 affordable and/or regulated housing units. More than two-thirds of residences are in homes of four units or smaller. The numbers don’t lie. There is more affordable and/or regulated housing on the Upper East Side than in Queens Community Board 11, by a factor of more than 5 times.

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Grand Haven Tribune Odd News: 2 condos converted into 18 micro apartments by Bill Chappell

Odd News: 2 condos converted into 18 micro apartments

NEW YORK — Two Manhattan landlords took an unusual — and illegal — route to double their rentable space: cutting their two condos in half horizontally so they could rent out 18 tiny apartments in their Lower East Side building, according to the New York City Department of Buildings.

"The ceiling heights were 4.5 feet to 6 feet tall on each level, depending on where you were standing," Department of Buildings spokesperson Abigail Kunitz said in an email to NPR.

New York Daily News Cuomo to probe NYC’s biggest homeless services provider after Daily News exposé by Michael Gartland

Cuomo to probe NYC’s biggest homeless services provider after Daily News exposé

The Acacia Network — the scandal-plagued non-profit that raked in $183 million in city contracts in 2019 alone — is facing another investigation.

Gov. Cuomo announced the latest probe Tuesday after the Daily News exposed Acacia for demanding a mother of three stop calling the city’s 311 complaint line if she wanted to renew her lease in a squalid Bronx apartment.

New York Times ‘It Was Horrible’: Man Killed In Gruesome Brawl at Homeless Shelter by CHRISTINA GOLDBAUM

‘It Was Horrible’: Man Killed In Gruesome Brawl at Homeless Shelter

“There is a real problem here and we need to do something before another life is lost,” said Councilman Ben Kallos, chairman of the City Council’s contracting committee. Mr. Kallos, a Democrat, says he plans to call on Monday for a Council hearing regarding Acacia’s practices. “One of the hardest problems is that the people in these shelters and making these reports are those who the system and society might not treat as credible,” Mr. Kallos said. “But in light of what happened yesterday, that seems less and less the case.”

 

Brooklyn Daily Eagle Housing Works employees protest, claiming harassment and union-busting tactics by Mary Frost

Housing Works employees protest, claiming harassment and union-busting tactics

Manhattan Councilmember Ben Kallos said, “It says something that the number one demand is caseload.” The average pay of Housing Works employees is $16.23, he noted, “Too close to the minimum wage.” He also listed “No clear grievance process and concern about a safe work environment” as good reasons to unionize.

The Real Deal NYC lawmakers to fix property taxes … in 2030? by Erin Hudson

NYC lawmakers to fix property taxes … in 2030?

Last week, Helen Rosenthal and Ben Kallos introduced a bill mandating evaluation of the system in 2030. The idea is to prevent it from becoming warped over time, as has occurred since the last major change was made four decades ago.

The law would create a commission appointed by the mayor and speaker to analyze the system in terms of “equity, efficiency, transparency, ease of administration, and compliance.” It would be required to hold two public hearings and issue a report with an analysis and recommendations by November 2030. The process would repeat every 15 years.

AM New York Tenant housing court history could become a protected class under city bill by By Sarina Trangle

Tenant housing court history could become a protected class under city bill

In a bid to root out so-called tenant blacklisting, the city may expand its list of protected classes to include people who have been involved in housing court cases.

At a hearing Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration indicated it supported a bill that would empower the city's Commission on Human Rights to investigate when New Yorkers believe a landlord opted not to rent to them because of their history in housing court.

Earlier this summer, the state banned this practice, often referred to as tenant blacklisting. Lawyers who represent renters have long spoken out against owners that reject anyone included in databases of people who have been involved in any housing court action — even in cases that tenants win — over the past seven years.

The state's prohibition, however, exclusively tasks the attorney general with enforcement and does not allow renters to take owners to court with their own attorneys.

New York Times Towers Crowd Yorkville by Joseph Burger

Towers Crowd Yorkville

“Everyone in the city who cares about the cultural identity of their neighborhood should be watching Yorkville as a warning sign,” said City Councilman Ben Kallos, a grandson of Jewish Hungarian immigrants whose district includes Yorkville. “The last thing a residential neighborhood needs is more glass towers for billionaires.”

El Diario Protestan para que se congelen rentas por los próximos dos años en NYC by Edwin Martinez

Protestan para que se congelen rentas por los próximos dos años en NYC

El próximo junio la Junta Reguladora de Alquileres votará si se aumenta o no la renta de más de 1 millón de apartamentos en la ciudad de Nueva York, que están cobijados bajo la figura de renta estabilizada y, desde ya, líderes, activistas y defensores de los inquilinos, están pidiendo que los alquileres se congelen por los próximos dos años. En el 2018 el aumento fue del 1.5% en contratos de 1 año y 2.5% en contratos de 2 años.

Politico [L]eadership frustrated city officials, developers (Excerpt) by Joe Anuta, Janaki Chadha, Sally Goldenberg

[L]eadership frustrated city officials, developers (Excerpt)

During his tenure, the Manhattan lawmaker approached routine, sparsely attended land use hearings somewhat like courtroom dramas — grilling housing agency officials and other applicants for details on financing, affordability levels and benefits awarded to workers on a given site and chastising them when they couldn’t provide answers...