Thursday, July 31, 2014

Second look: agreement announced last month suggests residents displaced since 2006 can get preference in affordable housing lottery

The press missed it--in part because it wasn't highlighted--but the Atlantic Yards housing agreement announced 6/27/14 includes an important element that could help those already displaced from the neighborhoods around the Atlantic Yards project get a shot at the community preference for subsidized housing.

Of the affordable units, 50% will be set aside in the lottery for residents of the four nearby Community Districts, so ties to those districts help enormously, given the likelihood the lottery will be oversubscribed.

As stated 7/4/14 on the web site of Brooklyn Speaks, which negotiated the agreement:
Affordable housing at Atlantic Yards is expected to be awarded by lottery; residents of Brooklyn community districts 2, 3, 6 and 8 are expected to receive preference for 50% of such housing, consistent with federal fair housing law. The NYC Letter expresses the intention of the City of New York to consider former residents of districts 2, 3, 6 and 8 who have been displaced since the time of Atlantic Yards’ 2006 approval as eligible to participate with preference in lotteries for its affordable housing. The letter also states the City’s commitment to use liquidated damages directed to the New York City Housing Trust Fund for the preservation and creation of affordable housing in districts 2, 3, 6 and 8, thereby helping to mitigate the impact of any delay of Atlantic Yards’ affordable apartments should it occur prior to project completion.
(Emphasis added)

(This was not mentioned in the BrooklynSpeaks press release or the New York State press release, though the letter was released at the time.)

The NYC letter

The letter (below) from Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen states:
"With regards to the Atlantic Yards project, the City, consistent with Fair Housing Law, will review the affordable housing lottery preferences and will take into account the surrounding community residents' ties to the neighborhood, including ties of those that were displaced since 2006 when the General Project Plan was first approved."
I'm not sure this is a full guarantee--the "take into account" language could offer some wiggle room--but it is certainly an intent to consider those former residents.

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