With the crash of real estate all over the country, the city of New York recently unveiled a program to "convert vacant and stalled high-end projects for middle income families." This $20 million program, known as HARP- Housing Asset Renewal Program, is geared to clean up the blight littering the five boroughs and at the same time create much needed affordable housing for the city.
“Private developments that sit vacant or unfinished could have a destabilizing effect on our neighborhoods, but we’re not about to let that happen,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement. “This program holds out the promise of addressing the unintended blight caused by vacant sites, while transforming what would have been market-rate buildings into affordable housing for working class New Yorkers.”
Speaker Christine Quinn introduced this option in February 2008 during her State of the City address and the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development was brought on board to flesh out some of the details that need to be worked out before implementation.
The entire process is set to work thus: the city will issue a request for funding applicants—a sort of RFP with a rolling deadline—in July that is expected to run through December. Applicants will be judged on three criteria: those who offer the deepest discounts, require the least amount of subsidy, and provide the most “stabilization” to the neighborhood. For instance, a single building in need of subsidy in a ten block radius would be more likely targeted than 15 buildings in need within a five block radius, according to Andrew Doba, a council spokesperson. - www.archpaper.com
I think this is a great idea to not only open up financing to complete the construction on these projects but to also provide affordable housing for the public. Also, this will greatly help to clean up the blight and make the neighborhoods safer by removing these spots which could harbor potential predators in the dark.
Images obtained from: www.archpaper.com
Article details obtained from Matt Chaban's "Harping on Affordable Housing"