April 9, 2019
“Changing the Paradigm: Creating Scale and Keeping Local Expertise in Nonprofit Affordable Housing Development—How to Stop Competing with Fellow CDCs and Embrace a Joint Ownership Structure”
Volume 27, Number 3 2019
Over the past forty years, New York City’s nonprofit Community Development Corporations (CDCs) have rebuilt some 100,000 units of housing, helping to transform many disadvantaged communities from slums to thriving, vibrant, and safe places to live and work. However, today the pendulum has swung the other way: communities that were once plagued by blight are now facing gentrification. In the context of a bullish real estate market, the housing options for many households at the bottom of the economic ladder have worsened. While housing prices have risen, the income of many New Yorkers has declined. And according to City officials, there are 700 applicants for every unit of affordable housing.
New York City government has recognized the insufficient supply of affordable housing, with Mayor Bill de Blasio declaring in 2014 that we have “a crisis of affordability on our hands” and setting forth a comprehensive plan to build and preserve 200,000 affordable units over ten years to support New Yorkers with a range of incomes. Yet, even with a comprehensive plan to tackle this issue, the reality is that we are losing affordable housing every day. But we remain hopeful. We believe that by merging market realities with mission in a smart—dare we say a paradigm-shifting way—a solution can be found. We are already seeing heartening success.