Affordable housing, at what cost?




Allow Mayor de Blasio an election-year victory lap for the growing numbers of units produced by his affordable housing program, recognizing how stressed and strained voters are about the cost of keeping a roof over their heads.


Just remember who’s paying to put some very pricey real estate within reach of working-class New Yorkers. Hint: It’s not the real-estate developers the mayor first ran for office promising would play a leading role.


The nearly 78,000 apartments built, underway or refinanced since his Jan. 2014 arrival in City Hall will be welcomed by grateful tenants paying rents below, sometimes sharply below, nosebleed-high market prices.


De Blasio’s just wrapped up the city’s biggest 12-month spurt since 1989, rivaling the legendary output of Mayor Koch.


On the campaign trail, de Blasio suggested the magic ingredient would be a tool called mandatory inclusionary zoning, to make developers in swaths of the city produce for the common folk in exchange for getting to build bigger. Everybody wins, at no cost to taxpayers.


The truth: That’s been a couple of sprinkles on the cake. The cake is made of money.


A lot of money. At the outset, in May 2014, de Blasio committed $6.7 billion in city capital funds to fill gaps in the cost of construction.


He has since bumped that up to $7.8 billion and again to $9.7 billion to bring rents on more apartments in reach of the poorest tenants.


Annual capital spending on subsidizing affordable housing dwarfs that by the previous administration by three to one.


Meantime, the ballyhooed zoning change, which requires set-asides of at least one in four apartments in newly approved buildings, has been responsible for producing just four apartments thus far, with 624 on the horizon.


That’s not a typo.


Why the spectacular failure of the supposedly brilliant idea? Parochial City Council politics — and a mayor who’s proven woefully unpersuasive or unwilling to take on opponents.


Look at Crown Heights in Brooklyn, where Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo says she’ll vote no to new life for a disused armory even though half of 330 rental units there will be affordable. Or at Inwood in Upper Manhattan, where Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez nixed plans of similar scale.


Council members are roadblocking new developments on the illogical theory that constraining housing supply will keep their gentrifying neighborhoods affordable.


Mindful of the blowback, the mayor’s city planners have slow-walked ambitious neighborhood rezoning plans that could be producing a heap of new housing.


De Blasio ought to have long ago called Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to a summit demanding an end to this perversion denying homes to untold thousands in need.


Instead, he took to the airwaves Friday to lament that City Hall “has not always done the best job of presenting a vision or listening to feedback.”


However you define the belly flop, it’s not probably not costing him a second term. But it is costing the city a fortune.

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