Michael Bloomberg delivers speech on affordable housing at inaugural event of Furman Center's new institute

Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, kicked off the inaugural event of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy’s new Institute for Affordable Housing Policy on February 22 with a speech reaffirming the city’s commitment to building and preserving 165,000 affordable housing units for 500,000 New Yorkers by 2014.

Since 2002 the city has funded close to 100,000 units in all five boroughs, Bloomberg said. He detailed the four-pronged strategy to keep his New Housing Marketplace Plan on track despite the crippling recession: creatively utilizing private market forces, preventing residential foreclosures, skillfully managing city finances, and collaborating both among city agencies and with partners in the private and nonprofit sectors.

Bloomberg had a response, he said, to those questioning the plan’s viability: “Fuhgeddaboudit. We’re not cutting back. We’re not turning back. We’re still on course to hit our affordable housing targets on time.... Some of us are old enough to remember what New York was like when the city seemed to hit bottom in the ’70s. We saw what decades of housing abandonment and neglect did to our communities. And we’re not about to let it happen again. Not now. Not ever.”

The speech introduced the new institute’s daylong roundtable on the opportunities for and challenges of affordable housing in New York City, co-hosted by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Vicki Been ’83, Boxer Family Professor of Law and faculty director of the Furman Center, and Sarah Gerecke, the Furman Center’s executive director, moderated panels on threats to multifamily housing units and on the challenges to housing affordability posed by the economic crisis.

Ronald Moelis ’82 provided funding for the Institute for Affordable Housing Policy, which was created to improve affordable housing policies and programs by informing housing practitioners and policymakers.

Posted on February 23, 2010