The City of Yonkers will make 200 Section 8 vouchers available to qualifying individuals in an effort to expand senior and affordable housing in the city.
Officials from the Municipal Housing Authority for the city of Yonkers and Mayor Mike Spano said Thursday they are seeking proposals from private developers to participate in the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s project-based voucher program.
Individual recipients of Section 8 subsidies will be chosen from the housing authority’s existing waiting list and notified this fall.
Wilson Kimball speaks outside City Hall in Yonker (Photo: Mario Marroquin)
“Section 8 provides vouchers through HUD that subsidize rental units in market rate units for income qualifying tenants,” Spano said at a news conference. “The program would be a major plus for building developers and owners alike who need to meet the requirement of the city’s affordable housing law.”
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Private bids will be accepted for one year for project-based Section 8 vouchers for new construction, substantial rehabilitation or existing projects.
First-round proposals will be due on July 14. Solicitation for additional proposals will be done on a quarterly basis thereafter.
Wilson Kimball and Carlos Laboy of the Yonkers Housing Authority said the housing agency has already identified four sites for development that are also eligible for vouchers, including the site of the former Longfellow School on Mulberry Street, a portion of Cottage Place Gardens fronting Warburton Avenue and a site at 88 Elliott Ave.
Plans for the Longfellow site call for 60 units of senior housing, Kimball said. And the redevelopment of Cottage Place Gardens is ongoing.
The Journal News/lohud reported a developer from Fresh Meadows in Queens sought to redevelop the Longfellow site into affordable housing back in 2014. Before that, the Longfellow site was part of a federal investigation that led to the conviction of Councilwoman Sandy Annabi for alleged bribes.
“In addition to all the new market-rate housing that is going up, we have renovated our public housing stock and are now making more affordable housing available through the use of Section 8 vouchers in partnership with building owners,” said Kimball, the president and CEO of the city’s housing authority.
Project-based vouchers will be made available for studio- through five-bedroom units, the RFP states. RFP responders are required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and to have an existing history of complying with Fair Housing and Housing Quality Standard Inspections.
Projects must be located in areas “not negatively impacted by poverty and/or race,” and proximal to “social, recreation, commercial, employment and health facilities and mass transit.”
Officials from the housing authority said the RFP was translated and published in Spanish in an effort to lure minority developers to Yonkers.
Development in Yonkers
The city’s RFP for Section 8 vouchers comes at a transitional period for the city.
After having successfully attracted developers like Extell, RXR and AvalonBay Communities, the city was the recipient of two rounds of funding from HUD aimed at aiding the homeless during the coronavirus.
The exterior of 188 Waburton Avenue, left, near the Cottage Place Gardens in Yonkers, is pictured March 8, 2016. (Photo: Mark Vergari/The Journal News)
Through the CARES Act, HUD disbursed $2.96 billion in emergency grants across the country to support homelessness and individuals at risk of becoming homeless due to the pandemic.
Yonkers received almost $4 million in ESG funding, while New York City received $330 million from the same program.
Yonkers was also awarded an additional $2 million in Community Development Block Grants in April when the CARES Act was signed into law.
As reported by The Journal News/lohud, Yonkers legislators are considering a bill that would increase affordable housing requirements from 10% to 20% for developments exceeding 100 units. If passed, the bill would also mandate developers include at least two affordable housing units for developments with over 21 residences.
Mario Marroquin covers real estate and economic development. Click here to see his latest stories. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @mars3vega
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