The need for more affordable housing units in New York City has been widely discussed. What hasn’t been addressed is the need to equate “affordable housing” to “affordable energy.”
People living on low or fixed incomes often face the hard decision between paying rent, buying food, or keeping the lights on. The impact of energy prices swings and the opportunity to meet this challenge head on was the topic of New York AREA chairman Arthur “Jerry” Kremer’s speech at BALCONY’s forum on “Affordable Housing.”
The panel titled, “The Mayor’s Plan and the Future of Affordable Housing in New York City,” was moderated by Michael Locker, president of Locker Associates. The full panel included:
• Benjamin Dulchin, ANHD
• John Skinner, President, Local 46 Metallic Lathers and Ironworkers
• Arthur Cheliotes, President CWA Local 1180
• Ed Wallace, Co-Chair of NY Office, Greenberg Traurig
• Arthur Kremer, NY AREA
The featured speakers touched upon issues including the benefits of a project labor agreement as well as planning for density while enhancing transportation and preserving space for manufacturing activity. Over 150 business, labor, and public officials packed the room and were urged by Kremer to “find ways to come to the table to negotiate for lower power prices from upstate and western New York.” He called on the group to weigh in on important energy policy matters to clean up “New York’s bad reputation on energy.”
“The city has to find ways to search for new sources of power and in effect, make the new affordable housing into a laboratory for creating new and affordable types of energy,” Kremer said. Renewable technologies such as solar and smart management systems should be incorporated into the plan to move New York closer to an even cleaner energy future.
Creating affordable housing will also create thousands of sustainable jobs over the time period. According to the New York City Mayor’s Office, that is 194,000 construction jobs and 7,200 permanent jobs. Kremer and the panel discussed how the wages will generate tax revenues for the city, state, and local neighborhoods in which the work will take place, uplifting local businesses. This is a “win win” for all involved, especially New Yorkers.
For a full account of the entire forum, including highlights from New York City Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been and New York State Housing and Community Renewal Commissioner Darryl Towns, please visit BALCONY’s website here.
Learn more about New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Affordable Housing Plan” here.