The Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers (MHACY) wants to partner with owners of market-rate buildings in the city and expand the inventory of affordable housing units.
MHACY has issued a request for proposals (RFP) inviting landlords to participate in the Section 8 Housing program. Section 8 provides vouchers through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that subsidize rental units in market-rate buildings for income-qualifying tenants. MHACY’s RFP says that it would use project based vouchers “to expand the affordable housing opportunities in Yonkers’ neighborhoods that are not negatively impacted by poverty and/or race.”
Wilson Kimball, president and CEO of MHACY, told a news conference on the steps of Yonkers City Hall, “This is a banner day for Yonkers. We’re prioritizing the location of the units and the fact that they should be ADA compliant and the size of the units.”
She said that the units MHACY is seeking for the program would range in size from studios to five bedrooms.
In order to be eligible to receive Section 8 vouchers, among other things, residents must have total household be at or below 50% of the area median income and must pay at least 30% of household income toward rent.
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said this is the first time in more than a decade that MHACY has sought to recruit landlords for the Section 8 program.
“The program also would be a major plus for the building owners and developers alike who need to meet the requirements of the city’s affordable housing law,” Spano said. “During this challenging economic time this is yet another way that we can leverage more quality affordable housing for Yonkers’ working families, for young people just starting out and, of course, for the seniors who just want to age in place.”
Spano referenced a three-year, $300 million program MHACY undertook to renovate all of the apartments it controls.
“In addition to all the new market rate housing that is going up, we have renovated all of our public housing stock, 1,700 units completely done and rehauled … and now we’re making more affordable housing available through the use of Section 8 vouchers that will be a partnership with building owners,” Spano said.
Started in July 2017, the repairs and updates took place at approximately 20 sites that house approximately 10,000 people. Included were new bathrooms, kitchens, roofing, flooring, boilers and other interior and exterior upgrades.
“So, this is a three-prong approach that ensures that we provide a full spectrum of housing and we renew our commitment to provide safe, quality, affordable housing for working families here in our great city of Yonkers. Again, I want to continue to make Yonkers more affordable and to make Yonkers more accessible to all of our residents across the board in the city,” Spano said.
James Landy, the MHACY board chairman, described the Section 8 offering as a win-win situation for tenants, building owners and the city. “It will not only expand our base of affordable housing but will give developers incentive to create more market rate housing in our city,’’ he said.
The first round of RFP responses must reach MHACY no later than 4 p.m. on July 14. After that, MHACY intends to solicit proposals from landlords on a quarterly basis.
The proposals will be evaluated on general criteria and specific criteria applying to new construction, existing projects and projects requiring substantial rehabilitation. General criteria applying to all categories include location and proximity to social, recreation, commercial, mass transit and other facilities, handicap accessibility, history of compliance with fair housing regulations and the availability of support services.
MHACY is the second-largest public housing authority in New York state, the largest being the New York City Housing Authority.