2 New Programs to Give NYC Homebuyers and Homeowners a Break Mayor de Blasio Announced Open Door and HomeFix Initiatives

2 New Programs to Give NYC Homebuyers and Homeowners a Break
Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2013 (by The Office of Public Advocate for the City of New York. Thmonline at German Wikipedia [via Wikimedia Commons)

Homeownership in New York City is about to get easier for first-time homebuyers, while existing yet struggling homeowners are getting help in fixing their homes

This past Monday, the city announced two new initiatives, Open Door and HomeFix, as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Housing 2.0 New York plan to promote affordable housing. The goal of the two new programs is to reach approximately 2,100 households in eight years.

Open Door will fund the construction of co-ops and condominiums for first-time homebuyers whose income is between $69,000 and $112,000. The program will build 200 new homes annually and serve 1,300 households for the next eight years.

“Through the new program, owners will be able to build limited equity in their homes over time, balancing the goal of asset building with the city's need for ongoing affordability for future generations,” according to a brochure touting Open Door.

The other program, HomeFix, is designed to aid low- and moderate-income homeowners in one-to-four family properties in financing home repairs through low-interest loans. The target goal under HomeFix is 800 households also in eight years.

“Many of these owners are being barraged with cash offers from aggressive speculators who know that families with significant repair issues will be tempted to accept, even if it means leaving the neighborhoods they helped build, and being left without a viable housing alternative,” said the brochure on the reason behind the HomeFix program.

In a press statement announcing Open Door and HomeFix, de Blasio said that the city wants to help working families own a piece of the Big Apple. "Affordable homeownership empowers families and neighborhoods and opens pathways to the middle class,” he explained.

“Homeownership is a critical ladder to greater financial security for families, and a stabilizing anchor for neighborhoods,” said HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer in the same statement. “Through these new programs, more New Yorkers will have a shot at owning a piece of their city, and making the repairs they need to stay in their homes and communities.”

As The Real Deal pointed out, officials didn't disclose on how much of the city's budget would be set aside for both Open Door and HomeFix programs.

Overall, de Blasio's Housing 2.0 plan aims to fund 200,000 affordable homes by the year 2022, and 300,000 by 2026. In addition to Open Door and Home Fix, other parts of the Housing 2.0 program include maintaining affordable housing for seniors, very low-income New Yorkers, and aging Mitchell-Lama buildings. Its other initiatives aim to help nonprofits to purchase rent-regulated buildings and keep them affordable for tenants, and require that areas and buildings that have been rezoned for residential purposes must have 20-30 percent affordable housing.  

David Chiu is an associate editor at The Cooperator. 

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  • So de Blasio will use taxpayer money to help certain people (friends, friends of friends ad donors) get below-market funds for construction or repair. They'll give the homes to people they choose, including people with the weakest credit, at the highest risk for default. In return, every other homeowner will see their costs go up, every renter will see increases when the government controls the low side of the price curve, regular citizens are stuck on the high side. Hurts everyone, mayor sees money- I love New York. Bah!
  • I read Mr Chu’s article in these two new initiatives by the mayor. However, as a purchaser of affordable housing in the form of a condominium i have been to this rodeo before. Waters Edge At Arverne Condominium was created with the same premise under the bloomberg administration. Mayor bloomberg had a good idea but it was built with shoddy construction and it continues to cost home owners more money to patch roofs that leak and poor gutter systems . These are not my opiniins but documented engineer report that suppirts these facts. Hpd and city officials have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to these defects. We were forced as home owners to file a defect claim in order to preserve our right to remediation. This claim continues to cost us money and also resulted in our raising common charges to meet the financial obligation of the condominium.. So in essence, we have learned nothing about creating affordable housing in the form of condominium and cooperatives for first time home owners. These type of housing comes with a learning curve for first time home buyer who are often clueless in the rules and requirements of living in such housing. The city and hpd are not by definition great teachers.
  • As a first time buyer of a condo unit built through an affordable housing program (Waters Edge Condominium), I urge De Blasio to do his homework first. These houses are built not up-to-code, with leaky roofs, bursting water pipes, missing stubs, undersized heating pipes, to name few issues. Instead of giving first time buyers great start, he'll be giving them a headache of much needed repairs to brand new houses. Headache that costs money. Going back to HPD and other city agencies shows a lot of pointing fingers, but no help. Mr. Mayor, do a Google search and see what's really happening in your city before spending taxpayers money.
  • Love the initiative to wanting to help Senior citizens get help to get a ow interest loan in order to fix the place where where we have been residing for a long period of time. Please, post how to get this well needed help. Thanks.
  • I am curious to see who will actually oversee these contractors. Better yet who will oversee HPD when they just sign off on anything and when the issue is presented they point their finger the other way. As a first time home buyer, affordable housing in NYC isn't so affordable. When Developers and HPD can allow for a property to be built with incorrect piping, botched roofs and for water and electricity to be controlled by another home owner is beyond ridiculous!!! There needs to be a check and balance system when it comes to giving people the "American Dream". This right here is called a nightmare.