CITY HALL — Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to create or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over 10 years doesn't do enough to help the city's poorest residents, Public Advocate Letitia James and Comptroller Scott Stringer said.
James and Stringer, the two only other citywide elected officials besides the mayor, joined with the group Real Affordability for All outside of City Hall Wednesday to call on the mayor to change the income guidelines for the housing being built.
"My recommendations are to lower the income eligibility because the current guidelines exclude more than a quarter of New York City's household in need of affordable housing," James said.
"Let's invest in the poorest people in the city," he said. "When do the poor people of our city, hard working New Yorkers, when do they get a fair deal? When do they get ahead?"
Real Affordability for All issued a report Wednesday saying that de Blasio's affordable housing plan builds approximately the same percentage of units for families making 30 percent of the area median income or AMI, than the housing proposal of his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg.
De Blasio, a liberal Democrat, ran for office on the theme of income inequality and has made affordable housing a central part of that focus.
"We have to insure that there are lower AMI's," said Maritza Silva-Farrell, campaign director of Real Affordability for All. "We have to insure that this plan is an actual progressive plan."
► READ MORE: What is AMI?
Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for de Blasio, said the Real Affordability for All report was "way off."
Over the first two years of the de Blasio administration, 40,000 units of affordable housing have been built or preserved.
A total of 15,382 units have been built or preserved for the extremely low income, the very low income and the low income. The income guidelines for those categories range from $25,150 to $67,120 for a family of four.
Norvell said 1,909 units of affordable housing have been for the extremely low income alone.
Under the last five years of the Bloomberg administration, 11,229 units were built or preserved for the extremely low income, the very low income and the low income, including 1,869 for the extremely low income, Norvell said.
"We’ve delivered more affordable housing for the very lowest-income New Yorkers in just two years than the previous administration did in five," Norvell said.
Real Affordability for All said they stand by their numbers and that not enough units for people who make between 50 to 80 percent of AMI or those making 30 percent or less of AMI are being built or preserved.
Other concerns from the group include the fact that union workers are not required on the projects.
"You cannot have an affordable housing plan where the housing is built on the back of exploited workers," said Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. "You cannot build your way out of income inequality. You have to create middle income jobs."
Stringer also criticized the administration for not consulting communities enough in developing the plan. Many community boards across the city voted against de Blasio's zoning proposals but the mayor has said his opinion and that of the City Council is more important.
Stringer said one plan the administration should consider is creating special districts, that could help preserve existing neighborhoods and promote affordable housing while allowing for new development.
"We're creating a city for the very, very wealthy with enclaves for the poor and nothing in between," Stringer said. "We must build housing for poor people because what's happening is poor people who have lived in our communities now can't stay in our communities and they are being pushed into homeless shelters."