Cluster Sites May be Transformed to Affordable Housing

Cluster Sites May be Transformed to Affordable Housing

The city’s Department of Social Services has announced plans to move forward with converting cluster housing sites into affordable apartments. In all, the city anticipates transforming 1,700 of these cluster sites into rent-regulated apartments by August. Originally started by Rudi Giuliani, the cluster program was introduced as a means to address homelessness in the city. While the units were generally located in affordable developments, state-enforced caps on the rents of these apartments forced the city to pay twice the average rent in order to maintain the apartments. This led to further troubles as landlords actively worked toward driving out their tenants so the apartments could be changed to cluster apartments in order to collect more rent.

At one point, the cluster site program has more than 3,600 apartments within its network. According to a probe conducted by the Department of Investigation in 2015, the city was paying an average of $2,451 per month for apartments in low-income neighborhoods where the average rent ranged from $528 to $1,200 per month. The de Blasio administration is working toward abolishing the system while also ensuring the apartments remain affordable.

In the meantime, here is a look at a few affordable housing options that have recently become available

39 Affordable Apartments Available in Williamsburg

Situated on land owned by Williamsburg’s Saint Peter and Paul Church at 321 Wythe Avenue, a 19-story building featuring one- and two-bedroom apartments is accepting applications to its lottery until July 17. Among the 39 apartments available are 17 one-bedroom units for $1,999 per month that are available to those earning between $28,538 and $108,550. The other 22 units are two-bedroom units available for $2,399 per month to those earning between $82.252 and $135,590 per year depending upon the size of the household.

Development for the apartment complex began in 2016, at which time developer Watermark Capital Group entered into a $2.1 million per year deal with the church to lease a portion of the site. Tenants of the affordable units can also enjoy additional amenities for an extra charge. These amenities include outdoor recreational space, a fitness center, a community room, a sauna and a theater.

COOKFOX-Designed Affordable Housing Ready for Tenants

A COOKFOX-designed affordable development has taken one more step toward completion with the second building within the two-building project wrapping up. In all, the complex is brining 418 affordable and supportive housing options to the neighborhood. Known simply as Webster Avenue or Webster Residences, the recently-finished 170-unit building will provide housing for the formerly homeless, individuals with special needs and low-income individuals.

Developed by the nonprofit organization Breaking Ground, the building is connected to its sister building via a landscaped courtyard. The first building, known as Park House, opened to residents in October of last year. The new building started its affordable lottery for 80 of its units in January with rents starting at $675 per month for a studio. Amenities available to residents in both buildings include a laundry room, a fitness room, a computer lab, a recreation room, a green roof, bike storage and a garden area. On-site social services are also available for tenants.