September 27, 2018

Governor Cuomo announces agreement to preserve affordability at East Harlem's Lakeview apartments for 40 years

Governor Cuomo announces agreement to preserve affordability at East Harlem's Lakeview apartments for 40 years
Plan Keeps 446-Apartment Mitchell-Lama Development Affordable for the Middle Class
Provides Rent Protections for Income-Eligible Tenants and Paves the Way for Capital Improvements and Repairs
Builds on State's Unprecedented Efforts to Increase Access to Housing

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State Homes and Community Renewal has taken steps to ensure the 446-unit Lakeview Apartments, a Mitchell-Lama development in East Harlem, remains affordable to residents for an additional 40 years. The state's affordability, preservation and capital improvement program also includes long-term protections for income-eligible tenants and allows Lakeview's owner to make improvements at the complex, including new kitchens and upgraded bathrooms for all apartments, an upgraded security system, and necessary repairs.

"This agreement guarantees that residents of Lakeview Apartments will have safe, comfortable, affordable homes for years to come, even as rents continue to rise rapidly around them," Governor Cuomo said. "By continuing the affordability established by the Mitchell-Lama program, we are preserving homes and providing housing security for New York's hard-working residents here in Manhattan."

"We're preserving and expanding affordable housing to ensure all New Yorkers have a stable and high-quality place to live," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This agreement will secure rent protections for 446 units at the Lakeview Apartments in East Harlem, making sure residents can live affordably and stay in their homes for decades to come."

As the building has reached its eligibility to exit the Mitchell-Lama program, without the State's intervention, the program could have been left without any rent protections, threatening nearly all of Lakeview's tenants with market rate increases and displacement from their homes. This was a particularly acute risk at Lakeview, situated on the corner of 5th Avenue and 106th Street in East Harlem, where market rents are among the highest in the state.

This plan is the result of HCR's strong oversight and leadership bringing together state, federal, and city resources to preserve long-term affordability at the Mitchell-Lama rental development by:

  • Restricting apartments to new tenants who earn no more than 110 percent of the area median income, which is part of a 40-year regulatory agreement the owner entered into with New York State HCR and New York City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
  • Requiring capital improvements and repairs including:
  • New roofs,
  • New kitchens and upgraded bathrooms for all apartments,
  • An upgraded security system,
  • Upgraded laundry rooms,
  • Renovated lobbies,
  • Energy improvements, and
  • New elevators
  • Preserving long-term affordability under Rental Assistance Demonstration, a program offered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that is enabling nearly all Lakeview tenants to spend no more than 30 percent of their income on rent. With RAD, apartments are kept affordable through a long-term contract that provides Section 8 funding to designated apartments. In the case of Lakeview, Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Adriano Espaillat secured a higher level of Section 8 funding in the 2018 Federal Budget, which was pivotal in making the financing structure feasible.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "We are proud to have worked with our partners in City and Federal government and the owner of Lakeview Apartments to achieve this landmark agreement that will keep these 446 apartments affordable for New Yorkers for the next 40 years. As rents continue to rise in this East Harlem neighborhood, it is essential that we preserve affordability for the existing residents and for generations to come so that as the economy grows, New Yorkers have the opportunity to stay in the neighborhood that they call home."

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said, "Lakeview Apartments is an island of precious affordability in a sea of spiking housing costs that are pricing out far too many working families and seniors from our city. Preserving that affordability is urgent and I am proud we passed Rental Assistance legislation enabling HUD and New York to use federal Section 8 to keep rents affordable for the long-term. This is tremendous example of the great coordination and common purpose from federal, state and city leaders to get the job done, and I commend Representative Adriano Espaillat, Governor Cuomo and Mayor DeBlasio for their leadership and effectiveness - and for investing in needed capital improvements at Lakeview."

Congressman Adriano Espaillat said, "Earlier this year, Senator Schumer and I fought to secure federal legislative language in the omnibus to preserve the 446 units in the Lakeview Apartment Complex in my district. After years of negotiations, I am glad to see that our hard work will result in an additional 40 years of affordable housing for Lakeview tenants. Ensuring affordable housing is accessible to all individuals regardless of race or income is vital to our country's success and helps our community thrive. Lakeview Apartments is one of East Harlem's last remaining Mitchell-Lama buildings, and it is critical to maintain and secure affordable housing in this section of the city. Affordable housing is imperative to healthy communities, thriving cities, and our economy, and I vow to continue my work in Congress to safeguard adequate funding and federal resources to preserve public housing like Lakeview today and for future generations."

Senator Brian A. Benjamin said, "The housing crisis in our community is making it harder and harder for working families to find and keep affordable homes. I am so glad that New York State Homes and Community Renewal has taken a big step to combat that crisis by preserving the affordability of Lakeview Apartments and taking steps to ensure the tenants' homes are improved and maintained. I look forward to continuing my work with NYSHCR, with tenants of Lakeview and their tenant association president Joanna Lawson, and with developments across our district to protect one of our most precious resources—our homes."

Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez said, "This agreement was cultivated over the course of years with coordination from multiple agencies and all levels of government. With rents rising throughout the City, it was crucial that we worked to maintain Lakeview Apartment's affordability. Lakeview residents and future generations will now have security to stay in their homes and get much needed repairs."

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer said, "Long-term and permanently affordable apartments are crucial in the struggle to stabilize our neighborhoods and fix our housing market. We can't just build our way out of the crisis - long-term preservation must be a priority for both the city and the state. I'm pleased that, with the assistance of NYS Homes and Community Renewal, Lakeview Apartments will remain affordable for at least forty more years while the development's owner delivers needed improvements and repairs for residents."

New York City Council Member Bill Perkins said, "In preserving the affordability for the residents of Lakeview Apartments for this generation and the next, we are halting the forces of gentrification to ensure that middle class New Yorkers continue on in their role as the linchpin that holds the fabric of New York City together."

Jo Ann Lawson, President of the Lakeview Tenants Association said, "I am absolutely thrilled. This is a monumental moment in the history of New York. We have achieved a win-win for everybody. This is a model of what can be done when people work together. We can all walk away proud of the journey we have been on. It was a collaboration where there was respect for each other. There was room for everyone at the table."

Charlie Gendron, principal of LIHC Investment Group said, “The preservation of Lakeview Apartments is the result of persistence, hard work, and advocacy over many years by our elected officials, housing agencies, and the Lakeview Tenant Association. The agreement we’ve reached is unique since it protects every one of our existing residents and more than 130 Lakeview families will now pay less rent than they did previously. For at least the next 40 years, Lakeview will remain a bastion of affordable housing for low income families, retirees, and the middle class and we couldn’t be prouder to help deliver this incredible result for our residents.”

New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development Deputy Commissioner of Development Molly Park says, "Securing the long-term affordability of the city's housing stock is a key goal of the Mayor's housing plan. This is why we are proud to have worked with the owners of Lakeview, local elected officials, and our colleagues at the State to extend affordability for more than 440 low-income households in Harlem, Manhattan. I want to thank and acknowledge LIHC and all our partners for their commitment to protecting the affordability of our neighborhoods for residents today and future generations of New Yorkers."

Governor Cuomo has made preserving and upgrading Mitchell-Lama housing as affordable to the middle class a priority. In 2013, the state announced the $1 billion House NY Initiative to transform 8,600 aging state-financed Mitchell-Lama communities in critical need of repairs and upgrades into quality, safe, affordable homes by the end of 2018. Under the program to date, New York State Homes & Community Renewal, the state's housing agency, provided financing to preserve 7,719 Mitchell-Lama apartments across the state, keeping this crucial stock of housing affordable for middle-income New Yorkers for another 40 years. The state's historic $20 billion housing plan also includes $75 million to the Mitchell-Lama Rehabilitation Program, which makes low-interest loans to Mitchell-Lama developments throughout New York State.

Since 2011, the State has extended the affordability for 15,643 Mitchell-Lama homes, continuing their crucial role in providing safe, decent and affordable housing for low and middle income New Yorkers.