Housing Now Fund

New York City is at a crossroads.  It faces an affordable housing crisis in which poor, working, and even middle class New Yorkers will no longer be able to call this greatest of urban centers home. Homelessness is at record levels not seen since the Great Depression, and the chronic under-investment in the repair and upkeep of over one million units of public housing continues unabated.  

Mayor de Blasio inherited this crisis. But he was elected with a mandate to end the “Tale of Two Cities” where wealthy New Yorkers live in luxury condos while their neighbors are priced out and evicted from their homes due to market pressures. His campaign promised to reel in the growing gap between rich and poor, with the creation of 200,000 affordable housing units in the next decade as a cornerstone of his platform. Indeed it is a visionary plan.

 
 
 

However, with more than a year on the job, the de Blasio Administration’s “affordable” housing plan has fallen far short of what is needed to deal meaningfully and successfully with New York City’s crisis of affordability. After pressure from North Star Fund grantees and allies, the Mayor, with a commitment of building and renovating 15,000 units, announced the largest investment in supportive housing in the city's history. At its core, however, the plan does little to nothing to increase units dedicated to housing low and extremely low-income New Yorkers, nor does the plan deal substantively with how affordability is calculated and the fact that many working people and families are being priced out of their neighborhoods. Without this investment, more and more New Yorkers will find themselves homeless and the investment will be too little, too late. 

Absent a robust, community-led housing movement to take this crisis head-on during a time when the possibility for deeper, progressive systems change has never been greater, the problem of affordability will continue to grow exponentially. 

North Star Fund has launched the Housing Now Fund to better resource the affordable housing movement, and to support the community visioning and planning that will be required to create truly sustainable neighborhoods. We want to bring more resources to grassroots-led efforts to drive the reforms and policy changes needed to put this city on a stronger path to real affordability—with infrastructure, facilities, businesses, and services that serve every age group and constituency. 

The Housing Now Fund is intended to be a partnership of donors, foundations, labor unions, businesses, housing and community developers, and all others who believe we must get on a path to deeper reform, real housing affordability, and to plan and create sustainable neighborhoods. 

North Star Fund is seeding the Housing Now Fund with a challenge match of $100,000. 

For every three dollars donated into the fund, North Star Fund will match it with one dollar.  The time is now. Give to the Housing Now Fund and help New York City be an affordable city for all.

This match is made possible through the Activism’s Future Campaign, which raised $8.5 million between 2012 and 2015 for grassroots-led community organizing and activist campaigns. 

To read more about the crisis of affordable housing and critiques of the Mayor’s plans, visit the RAFA website or see this September 2015 news story.

Partners

The Real Affordability for All (RAFA) Campaign and the Homes for Every New Yorker campaign will be the main grant recipients of the Housing Now Fund. These coalitions are anchored by ALIGN NY, NY Communities for Change and VOCAL-NY.

The Real Affordability for All (RAFA) coalition is made up of more than 50 groups, you can see the entire (and growing) RAFA membership here.

Homes for Every New Yorker campaign is bringing together over a dozen organizations you can see the full list of campaign partners here.

In partnership and collaboration, RAFA and Homes for Every New Yorker member groups have three overarching goals:

  1. To secure a precedent-setting “density bonus” in East New York rezoning that protects deeply affordable housing;
  2. To get New York City government to commit 10% of all newly created or retained housing to be set aside for the homeless;
  3. To achieve a new local hiring policy to benefit neighborhood residents in development projects. 

To learn more about the strategies and activities that RAFA and Homes for Every New Yorker will undertake to realize these objectives, visit the RAFA website.

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