Affordable housing boost promised by Mayor Bill de Blasio

The number of affordable housing units in the city will increase to 300,000 by 2026, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. / Getty Images / Andrew Burton

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday vowed even more below-market-rate apartments than initially promised at the start of his mayoralty — 300,000 units instead of 200,000.

His self-imposed deadline for the 50 percent boost, announced inside a subsidized apartment building in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens that serves formerly homeless people and others who couldn’t otherwise afford market rent, is 2026.

The mayor previously promised to build or preserve 200,000 units by 2024, but said the city will meet that goal two years early.

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He predicts about 25,000 units a year by 2021, a pace that he said would continue until 2026.

Decisions about who gets an apartment under the program will continue to be done by lottery, based on such characteristics as income, neighborhood residents and family size.

The 300,000 units are a mix of 60 percent preserved housing — apartments that would have otherwise left rent regulation — and 40 percent new ones.

The city also promised to spend about $750 million in tax dollars during the next four years toward the housing goal.

“We came in here with the clear decision to change the rules of the game,” to be less favorable to real estate developers, de Blasio said. “Our job is to step in and level the playing field to the maximum extent possible.”

Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, who oversees housing programs for de Blasio, said the new goal was possible because progress toward the plan so far exceeds projections. But those projections are predicated on the success of the economy, which has boomed since rebounding after cratering in 2008.

“If the market crashed,” Glen said, “we’d have to revise our projections.”

Also Tuesday, de Blasio dismissed an assertion reportedly made by lawyers for two NYPD detectives that they had a consensual encounter with a teenage woman. The teenager said she was forced to perform a sex act on the detectives in exchange for her freedom, and she was kept in custody last month in Brooklyn in an unmarked van. The mayor said he didn’t understand how such an encounter could be consensual.

“I don’t see how that’s possible, honestly,” de Blasio said of such claims. He added: “As a broad notion, I find it very troubling.”

The case is reportedly before a grand jury.