November 11, 2019

New York Landlord Ambassadors Program

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In June, Enterprise, in collaboration with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and with the support of the New York State Office of the Attorney General, wrapped up the two-year pilot Landlord Ambassadors Program (LAP). LAP harnessed the expertise of community-based non-profits to provide private owners of private small- and medium-sized buildings with the tools to improve and maintain physical, operational, and financial stability of their properties while ensuring long-term affordability. Three non-profit “Ambassador” organizations worked with landlords in select neighborhoods across the city:

  • Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC)
  • Mutual Housing Association of New York (MHANY)
  • RiseBoro Community Partnership

These organizations identified local property owners by hosting community events and connecting with elected officials and community-based organizations. They guided the owners through the process of applying for HPD rehabilitation loan programs. Building owners also received training in property management best practices such as income and expense tracking, assistance with violation clearance and enrollment in payment plans, and strategies to address each building’s needs, including energy efficiency upgrades.

The Ambassadors also worked with property owners at risk of losing their buildings to foreclosure or tax lien sale, to stabilize building operations and improve housing quality. This form of early intervention and direct technical assistance is a critical way to preserve affordable housing and ensure that these units are properly maintained.

Program achievements have included: 

  • 39 properties have submitted applications to HPD for financing 
  • 7 properties have closed on HPD financing 
  • 77 active participants 
  • 42% of active properties have seen reductions in violations 
  • 21% reduction in total arrears outstanding for active properties 
  • Participants were 50% more likely to pay off municipal debt or enter into payment agreements with the City

Now that the pilot program has proven successful, HPD is continuing and expanding the program throughout New York City by partnering with MHANY to continue providing technical assistance to property owners. The expansion of the program includes:  

  • Funds for repairs in vacant units to increase housing supply and improve housing quality
  • Placement of formerly homeless households in these vacant units to reduce the homeless population 
  • Funds for housing retention and stabilization services for formerly homeless households placed in those vacant units to smooth the transition from shelter to housing, and training for the building owners accepting these new tenants

Enterprise is now extending the reach of the program beyond New York City by partnering with NY State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) to engage with six non-profit organizations that will serve as Landlord Ambassadors for the counties of Steuben, Chemung, Schuyler, Clinton, Essex, Hamilton, Dutchess, Suffolk, and Nassau, and the cities of Rochester, Newburgh, and Kingston. Our statewide LAP will also provide an Emergency Loan program, in partnership with the Habitat NYC Community Fund, to fund urgent building improvements for owners in the program, and will expand opportunities for housing developers to preserve distressed multifamily housing throughout New York State.

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