May 10, 2017

Enterprise and HPD Launch Landlord Ambassadors Program to Preserve Affordable Housing Through Community Engagement

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Enterprise Community Partners and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) just launched their Landlord Ambassadors program by selecting community-based nonprofits that will help owners of small and mid-sized multifamily buildings throughout the city take advantage of HPD’s affordable housing programs. The Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC), Mutual Housing Association of New York (MHANY) in Brooklyn, Northern Manhattan Collaborative, and Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City (NHSNYC) in Manhattan will receive training and funds to hire staff and bolster operations as they work with landlords to stabilize and upgrade their buildings as well as assist multifamily property owners on the city’s tax lien docket. Through their efforts, the organizations will preserve affordable housing throughout the city and equip landlords to manage their properties more effectively.  

“Connecting owners of small buildings to low-cost preservation resources is critical to keeping NYC’s homes and neighborhoods stable and affordable,” said Judi Kende, Enterprise vice president and market leader. “The Landlord Ambassadors program leverages HPD’s range of services and the expertise of community-based organizations to provide landlords with a critical support network that will help preserve much-needed affordable housing.”

The Inaugural Landlord Ambassadors 

The nonprofits were chosen as the program’s inaugural Ambassadors because of their community outreach and engagement experience, history with HPD’s financing programs, and track record of assisting property owners.  The neighborhoods selected for this pilot stand to benefit greatly from this program, as HPD’s loan programs ensure long-term affordability, keep tenants in place, and help to stabilize neighborhoods. Enterprise will oversee the training for the Landlord Ambassadors and act as program lead, and HPD will assist. Both organizations will provide technical assistance throughout the two-year pilot program.

“The Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition is excited to partner with Enterprise and HPD to launch the innovative Landlord Ambassador Program which brings together community-based expertise, government finances and the technical assistance of a national social enterprise to help stabilize affordable housing in communities facing some of the highest displacement pressures in the City,” said Sandra Lobo, president, NWBCCC.  

“MHANY is enthused and committed to working with small building owners in Brooklyn through the Landlord Ambassador program,” said Ismene Speliotis, executive director, MHANY Management. “We look forward to helping them develop operating budgets that enable them to pay municipal bills, maintain their properties while undergoing rehabilitation, and continue to provide affordable housing to low- and moderate-income tenants.”

“The members of the Northern Manhattan Collaborative (NMC) are pleased to be partnering with Enterprise, HPD, and NHSNYC to bring the Landlord Ambassador program to Northern Manhattan,” said Christopher Cirillo, executive director, Lott CDC and coordinator of the Northern Manhattan Collaborative. “The NMC is an alliance of locally-based non-profit affordable housing developers, owners, and managers. We look forward to leveraging our decades of experience as property owners and our knowledge of neighborhood housing needs to assist local landlords.”

“Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City, Inc. is excited to leverage our decades of experience working with small building owners throughout Upper Manhattan in promoting HPD’s affordable housing preservation financing programs and its tax lien sale pilot program,” said NHSNYC Chief Executive Officer Susan M. Ifill.

Expanding the Affordable Housing Preservation Pipeline

Landlord Ambassadors will expand HPD’s affordable housing preservation pipeline by connecting landlords with HPD programs and educating them about program benefits, helping landlords navigate program requirements, and stabilizing at-risk developments by assisting in resolving any management, financial, or physical building issues.

“I am committed to helping New York continue to recover from the housing crisis, using funding I’ve secured through settlements with the nation's largest banks responsible for the crash,” New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said. “Landlord Ambassadors is a vital new program that will match qualified nonprofit housing developers with landlords new to affordable housing development, in order to improve the supply of quality affordable housing that New York families need.”

“The Landlord Ambassador program responds directly to a need identified by my community in the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan – working with landlords to preserve existing affordable housing,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I’d like to thank Enterprise and HPD for their commitment to East Harlem.  Preserving the character of our community starts by ensuring residents can continue to afford to live in their homes.  We look forward to working with the Northern Manhattan Collaborative and Neighborhood Housing Services to ensure their outreach and work with property owners is successful and connected to our broader neighborhood preservation strategies.”

“Every New Yorker deserves a home that is clean, safe, and free of code violations,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Programs that help landlords achieve this goal are worthwhile, and helping to finance minor repairs today can prevent bigger, more dangerous problems from threatening tenants tomorrow.”

“We need to encourage further development of affordable housing across Brooklyn,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “Enterprise Community Partners and NYC Housing Preservation and Development’s Landlord Ambassadors program will empower building owners with the resources they need to engage with their communities, and encourage the creation of more affordable homes through partnerships. A stable home is one of the most critical aspects of life, and that’s exactly what this program is encouraging more of.”

“Stemming the crisis in affordable housing requires action on all sides.  The Landlord Ambassadors Program addresses an important part of a multi-pronged strategy- landlord responsibility,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera. “More than 70% of the complaints my office receives are housing related, with many involving dangerous and unhealthy conditions in buildings. The Landlord Ambassadors Program will help to ensure that landlords have information and resources to maintain safe living conditions, meet code requirements and preserve the homes of their tenants.”

“Our community relies on quality landlords, who work with tenants and city agencies to preserve much-needed affordable housing,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “I'm thankful to HPD for initiating the Landlord Ambassador program so that struggling landlords can maintain their buildings rather than be forced to sell to predatory investors.”

Throughout the program, Landlord Ambassadors will offer HPD qualitative and quantitative data about successes and challenges to help HPD further develop and refine its policies around affordable housing development and preservation.

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