LiveOn NY Issues Ground-Breaking Report – Paving the Way for New Senior Housing

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Media Contacts:    Margie Schustack, Communications/LiveOn NY                     917 406-4478,   mschustack@liveon-ny.org,   Andrea Cianfrani, Deputy Director of Public Policy/LiveOn NY   212 398-6565 x233,    acianfrani@liveon-ny.org

Review of HUD Parking Lots in NYC provides real-world roadmap to help address crisis in affordable housing for seniors

Study identifies potential for 2,000 new senior housing units in NYC in all five boroughs through usage of 39 residential parking lots

(May 21, 2015 – New York City) Today LiveOn NY released Paving the Way for New Senior Housing: Site Selection Survey of HUD Parking Lots in New York City. This report is a comprehensive overview of HUD sponsored senior housing in New York city, and examines the feasibility of building senior housing on accessory parking lots. No such map portfolio of HUD sponsored senior housing buildings and accessory parking lots in New York City has been done before. The report also provides policy recommendations for elected officials and agencies on zoning, regulatory requirements.

“We are issuing our report at a critical juncture for seniors in New York City, announced Igal Jellinek, Executive Director of LiveOn NY. At a time when there is a crisis in senior housing, and where there is almost no new land to build on Paving the Way for New Senior Housing, provides a solutions-based, real-world roadmap that could play a significant part in solving this problem. There is space available, with parking lots not fully utilized that could be turned into affordable senior housing. We hope that this study will raise public awareness on the need for this housing and new ways to look at the land available.  At LiveOn NY we feel it is important to prioritize people and the unique needs of seniors when making these decisions.”

By 2030, New York City’s 60+ population is projected to increase by 47% to 1.84 million older adults. While the national poverty rate for older people has declined, New York has consistently increased. Upwards of 20% of older adults live in poverty according to the Center for Economic Opportunity’s measure. In addition, the median income for older adults is often inadequate to cover the cost of living in New York City, but their income is still too high to qualify for public benefits. Nearly one in three New Yorkers spend at least half their income on housing.

At the same time there is a dearth of affordable housing for these seniors. Land scarcity is the greatest challenge faced in creating affordable senior housing.  In the face of a dwindling stock of city owned land, soaring land acquisition costs and growing demand from a low-income senior population, HUD 202 lots are an untapped source of new land resources for development. The HUD 202 program is designed for large residential buildings (50 units or more) and requires that off-street accessory parking be provided in all residential zoning districts. These lots are only to be used by residents of the building. Survey data has shown that car ownership, particularly among low-income senior housing residents is very low.

REPORT RECOMMENDATIONS

  • There are 277 HUD senior properties in New York City, 191 with accessory parking lots. The report cites 39 underutilized lots that are potential development sites. These 39 lots have the potential to support 2,000 housing units.
  • Change zoning requirements – eliminate the parking requirement for Residential Use Group 2, adopt proposed parking modifications from DCP’s proposed Zoning for quality and affordability initiative, allow existing lots near transit to be eliminated, modernize zoning definitions to recognize the spectrum of senior housing types.
  • Implement regulatory changes – HUD should remove restrictions on developing the accessory lots without penalty to the building owners, and create a mechanism that would allow owners to negotiate the terms of their existing regulatory agreements. This would allow owners to develop the lots as senior housing or accessory uses under a revised zoning code.
  • Funding – A dedicated funding stream should be identified to support on-site services in senior housing

Click here for a copy of the complete report.

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ABOUT LiveOn NY: LiveOn NY, formerly the Council of Senior Centers and Services (CSCS), is a non-profit organization recognized as a leader in making New York State a better place to age. Founded in 1979, it is recognized as a leader in aging that connects resources, advocates for positive change, and builds, supports and fosters innovation. With over 100 member organizations providing community based services through more than 600 programs, LiveOn NY’s members range from individual community-based centers to large multi-service, citywide organizations. Our goal is to help all New Yorkers age with confidence, grace and vitality.

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