Study Finds Nearly Half of All Low-Income Units Created Under de Blasio Used 421-a

According to a recent report by the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), 42 percent, or 5,885 of the 13,755 low-income units built in 2014 and 2015, were aided by the 421-a program. That study included 156 projects that were either all low-income or mostly market-rate, with about one-quarter of the units set aside as low-income housing.

The 421-a program expired in January, and the fear is that without it, the production of low-income housing will drop significantly. One of the issues that derailed the renewal of 421-a was union work and prevailing wages. If a prevailing wage was paid on each project, the Independent Budget Office (IBO) estimated achieving Mayor Bill de Blasio’s housing goals would cost an extra $4.2 billion.

However, a study from the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, the umbrella organization for union work in the city, said union labor had a 65 percent share in projects over 100 units, even more on larger projects, but wasn’t seeking legally mandated wages on very small all-low-income projects. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would not sign any deal that doesn’t have the backing of organized labor.