Bill Morris in Legal/Financial on February 28, 2022
Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed an agreement with New York State Homes and Community Renewal (NYHCR) to preserve affordability for 30 years for 190 households at Inwood Tower, a Mitchell-Lama cooperative development in Washington Heights. By terms of the agreement, 6sqft reports, NYHCR will grant the co-op a $7.6 million subsidy loan that the development will use for essential repairs. With this grant, the state has ensured that more than 22,000 Mitchell-Lama apartments remain affordable for low and moderate-income New Yorkers as part of its five-year housing plan.
In keeping with that plan, Hochul recently signed a law that raises the bar for Mitchell-Lama co-ops to opt out of the affordable-housing program and convert their apartments to market rate. The new law requires that 80% of residents — up from 67% — must choose to opt out of the program. It also requires Mitchell-Lama co-op boards to hold six shareholder meetings a year, and if a vote to opt out fails, it places a five-year moratorium on a new vote. The governor’s move has sparked sharp divisions. Supporters of affordable housing are delighted; shareholders and sponsors in Mitchell-Lama co-ops who yearn to transform their apartments to market rate are equally dismayed
“The cooperators of Inwood Tower recognize that through the Mitchell-Lama program, we enjoy fair housing that is integrated and diverse,” says Eileen King, co-op board president at Inwood Tower. “With this loan, Inwood Tower can address major capital repairs needed for our nearly 60-year old building and comply with new environmental requirements and still maintain affordability for decades to come. Homes and Community Renewal continues the commitment of Mitchell-Lama housing to reduce the rent burden on families so that they are not using most of their income for housing costs.”
Besides ensuring the affordability of the development’s 190 homes until 2052, the agreement provides funds to repair elevators and gas lines, as well as replace roofs, boilers and piping, radiators, facades and bricks. Incorporated into the repairs are a number of energy-efficient measures that will reduce the development’s energy costs — and help it cut carbon emissions as demanded by the looming Climate Mobilization Act.
Started in 1955, the Mitchell-Lama program is a state-funded initiative that provides affordable rental and cooperative housing opportunities for low, moderate, and middle-income New York families.
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