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East New York plan to build affordable housing criticized in new report

Tens of thousands of low-income residents could be

Tens of thousands of low-income residents could be displaced under a plan to rezone East New York and build affordable housing, Comptroller Scott Stringer's office said on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. But the mayor's office said Stringer had it "completely backwards." Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

A city plan to bring more affordable housing to East New York that has led to furious reaction from some residents of the neighborhood is being criticized anew by the city's comptroller. 

Comptroller Scott Stringer released a report on Tuesday claiming that the city's plan, backed by Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration, would push out tens of thousands of low-income residents from East New York and surrounding communities. He said in a statement that the plan would "serve as an engine for displacement." 

But a spokesman of the mayor's office says Stringer has it "completely backwards." The City Council also criticized the report's logic. 

The mayor's office said most of the 50,000 people living in unregulated housing that Stringer's report cites are already at risk of displacement because of spiking rents from market forces. 

"These are families that are in danger today, because the market is already putting pressure on their rents," Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for the mayor's office, said in an email. "It'll take enormous preservation and new affordable housing efforts to turn that tide, which is precisely what the city is working for."

Stringer said apartments built under the city's plan would be too expensive for "more than half of current residents" and new market-rate units would "push even more people out of the neighborhood." 

The mayor's office said the report ignores subsidies that the city is committed to that would build units for families making $20,000 to $25,000 per year. 

The city's plan to rezone East New York and surrounding communities was recently rejected by the local Community Board 5, signaling that some community leaders are skeptical of the proposal. 

The mayor's administration has proposed building 200,000 affordable units over the next decade.  


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