Quinn Commits To Breaking Ground On The Largest Expansion Of Middle Class Housing Since Mitchell-Lama In First 100 Days

(September 4, 2013) – Standing outside a building that at one time appeared on Bill de Blasio’s “Worst Landlord List” –and then underwent extensive repairs due to Quinn’s passage of the Safe Housing Act –Quinn made a direct comparison between the work she has gotten done on behalf of tenants and the work Bill de Blasio did raising campaign contributions from bad landlords. She stated that 53 percent of all buildings that came off de Blasio’s bad landlord list were the result, not of anything the public advocate did, but due to the Safe Housing Program, which she passed. Almost all of the buildings that came off of Bill de Blasio’s landlord list were rehabbed through the Safe Housing Program, HPD's Comprehensive Litigation Program, or legal action on the part of 32BJ and tenants. Despite claiming that his landlord list had impacted the rehabilitation of buildings on it, almost all the buildings were actually rehabilitate not through the work of the Public Advocate, but through others.

“This is another example of Bill de Blasio talking out of both sides of his mouth,” said Quinn. “After getting caught raising money from his Worst Landlord List, he now wants to claim that his list helped rehab these buildings –the truth is, it was legislation passed by the City Council that helped get these buildings up to code. That’s the difference between Bill de Blasio and me, he talks about being a progressive, I deliver like one.”

Quinn made the comparison as part of her 100 Days Tour, where she committed to breaking ground on her plan to create the largest middle class affordable housing program in more than 50 years. Under her plan, the city will break ground to hit her goal to create 80,000 new apartments, overhaul the city’s Housing Maintenance Code, provide rental assistance for homeless families, and protect tenants in buildings at risk of foreclosure.

Quinn appeared at a building, which under the Safe Housing Act she passed as Speaker of the City Council provided extra oversight and penalties that required the owner to make major repairs and rehabilitating it into good, affordable housing.

At the press conference she criticized Bill de Blasio, who as public advocate put together a “Worst Landlord List” only to then turn to that list to raise campaign contributions for his run for mayor. Residents in multiple properties owned by landlords who appeared on the Worst Landlord List have complained about mold, backed-up pipes, leaking sinks, and multiple other problems. 

“While Bill de Blasio was keeping a list of worst landlords and dialing for dollars off that list, legislation I passed helped turn bad properties into clean, affordable places to live for New Yorkers trying to make it,” continued Quinn. “That’s the difference between us, Bill de Blasio talks about fighting for tenants and then turns to slumlords for campaign contributions.”

Quinn announced within the first hundred days of her administration she will:

Start construction on the first of 80,000 new affordable apartments to be built over the next ten years. New York City was built by generations of middle class families, and those working to pull themselves up into the middle class. But many New Yorkers are finding themselves priced out of the communities they helped to make great. Chris’ plan would use a combination of new financing and savings within the city's capital budget to build 4,000 new middle-income units every year - quadruple the current rate of construction, and by far the largest middle class housing program since Mitchell-Lama. Quinn will also maintain the current rate of 4,000 new units of lower income housing being produced every year.

Begin the first overhaul of the city’s Housing Maintenance Code since its creation. For 50 years, New York City has been working with a housing code that doesn’t provide the right tools to force landlords to keep apartments in livable condition. Quinn will conduct the first top to bottom overhaul of the city’s Housing Maintenance Code since its creation. She will give inspectors the power to tell landlords exactly what the problem is, and exactly how it needs to be corrected - and create new penalties for repeat violations.

Protect tenants living in buildings in danger of foreclosure. Thousands of apartments in New York City are in buildings that are in or on the verge of foreclosure, which puts the future of those tenants at risk. Quinn will create a Distressed Housing Preservation Fund, which will be used to purchase overleveraged buildings at a bulk rate. The city will make repairs, then transfer the properties to an approved developer who will keep them affordable and in good condition.

Provide rental assistance for homeless families. There are currently 12,000 families living in homeless shelters in New York City, some with children just a few months old. And without a rental assistance program for the homeless, most families have no way out of the shelters and into long term housing. Quinn will create a new program to help homeless families cover rent in private buildings so they can get off the streets, out of the shelters, and into their own homes. The average cost of a rental subsidy for a family of four is $800 a month. To house that same family in a shelter costs $3,000.        

Quinn’s plan builds on the strongest record of achievement of any candidate on the issue of housing. As speaker she passed the Safe Housing Act that has resulted in the renovation for more than 5,000 apartments and 400 buildings. She passed the Tenant Protection Act giving tenants for the first time the power to sue landlords for a pattern of harassment and she created the Housing Asset Renewal Program, which has already converted 150 units in stalled or vacant buildings into middle class affordable housing.  Quinn also successfully sued to block Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to require single homeless New Yorkers to prove their homelessness before being admitted to shelters.