Our city remains in an affordable housing crisis. The mayor’s goals are ambitious in terms of raw numbers – targeting 300,000 units created or preserved by 2026 – but they’re only the beginning of what we need to do. We need enough of those “affordable” units to be affordable for people in the neighborhoods where they’re being built. We need affordable housing plans that create welcoming streetscapes and healthy local retail, with the stores and shops and bodegas that make a neighborhood a neighborhood, not just big boxes.
Most importantly, we need more affordable units in every neighborhood, not just a few low-density neighborhoods chosen for upzoning. We absolutely need units in East New York and East Harlem – but we also need units in the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side, and downtown as well.
Accomplishing that isn’t always easy. But one well-respected affordable housing developer, the West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing (WSFSSH –for those unfamiliar with the organization, their name is pronounced “Wish-Fish” and they are beloved on the Upper West Side), is giving us a terrific model for creating new affordable housing, providing new resources for the underserved, and activating the streetscape, all while winning real public support.
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