The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is one of the most effective tools for creating new and critically needed affordable housing, and accounts for the vast majority of all affordable rental housing created in the United States. This is one in a series of articles that show how public housing authorities (PHAs) and community development agencies have successfully used federal tax credits and tax-exempt bonds to build and/or preserve public housing and affordable housing, and to increase the sustainability of their communities.
New York City Housing Authority: Ocean Bay (Bayside) Apartments
In June 2017, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced $560 million in federal, state, city, and private investment in NYCHA’s Ocean Bay (Bayside) Apartments, including $213 million in tax-exempt bonds, to finance essential infrastructure upgrades, support state-of-the-art resiliency and security systems, and the renovation and preservation of the public housing complex that is home to nearly 4,000 residents in Far Rockaway, Queens.
The 24-building, 1,395-unit Ocean Bay (Bayside) Apartments complex in Far Rockaway, Queens, provides vital affordable housing for low-income New Yorkers. Completed and first occupied in the early 1960s, the aging development was already facing critical maintenance needs and a deteriorating infrastructure before suffering extensive damage from Superstorm Sandy, including flooding and the destruction of the central heating plant. Some of the more notable renovations needed include roof replacements, complete upgrade of elevator machinery and equipment, new boilers and heating systems.
The three-year, $327 million restoration will involve a major infrastructure overhaul, with upgrades improving the overall community. All apartments will undergo extensive kitchen and bathroom renovations. To prepare for future extreme weather events, the restoration will also include resiliency measures such as the third-largest solar panel installation at an affordable housing development in New York State, a secure flood wall, water retention swales, stand-alone electric service buildings built above the flood zone, and the conversion from one central boiler steam system to 24 individual hydronic boilers on the roof of each building. The project also aims to provide residents with a safer, more secure community with new and updated security cameras, improved interior and exterior lighting, and a new key fob entry system.
This is NYCHA’s first conversion under HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), which allows housing authorities to access private capital to meet capital needs while also protecting long-term affordability. “This is government at its best and we are proud to be a part of driving investment in public housing across the state,” said New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas. “Here in New York City, the State worked with NYCHA – providing $213 million in tax-exempt bonds – to make their first RAD financing of nearly 1,400 units at the Ocean Bay complex possible. The result: Federal, local and state agencies working together to catalyze a public-private financing structure that supports vital capital improvements and respects tenants’ rights and needs.”
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