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De Blasio asks allies to lobby for housing plan

Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks at a

Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks at a rally held by AARP, union members and senior and community groups supporting the administration's affordable housing reforms on the steps of City Hall, on Wednesday, March 9, 2016. Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

Mayor Bill de Blasio, addressing a rally Wednesday of hundreds of union members and senior advocates, called on supporters of his affordable housing plan to lobby City Council members on its behalf.

“You need to make sure every City Council member knows this is about our families ... about our neighborhoods,” de Blasio told the crowd, which cheered him loudly.

Among the groups gathered on the City Hall steps were the AARP, which said aging New Yorkers could be guaranteed lower-rent apartments under the plan, and labor unions for hotel, health care and retail workers. The council must vote in the next two weeks on two of its key components — bills mandating the inclusion of affordable units in new developments and standardizing parking, facades and other design details.

Some council members have urged de Blasio to include more apartments for the lowest-income New Yorkers. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito characterized negotiations as “productive” and “ongoing.”

Asked if there was leeway from the mayor, she said, “there will be changes, ultimately.”

Real Affordability for All, a coalition pushing for lower rents and income qualifications as well as union construction requirements, postponed a protest that had been planned for Wednesday at City Hall, citing “productive movement in current negotiations.”

A person familiar with the matter said the city is considering more units for families who make less than 30 percent of the area median income. Most apartments in the current plan are for those from 51 percent to 80 percent of AMI, or about $39,000 to $62,000.

With Matthew Chayes

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