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De Blasio to introduce affordable-housing plans

In this Nov. 12, 2008 file photo, carpenters

In this Nov. 12, 2008 file photo, carpenters work on the roof of a 30-story condominium project in the Williamsburg section of New York. Credit: AP

Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to release his blueprint Monday for the construction or preservation of 200,000 affordable housing units in New York City during the next decade -- an effort to fulfill a campaign promise he has said would benefit half a million residents.

His administration aims, he said, to improve housing options and development opportunities for the benefit of working-class New Yorkers and the real estate industry.

"The history in New York City is of the developers, the real estate community having a fairly favorable set of ground rules from government, and we're going to be respectful and we're going to be honest brokers," de Blasio said in an interview on the PBS show, "Charlie Rose," that aired last week. "But I've said very clearly: We're upping the ante, we're driving a harder bargain, because we have to get more -- for example -- affordable housing, more hiring of local residents."

The Democrat said he would remove roadblocks to letting developments go up quicker if affordable housing and local construction jobs are in the plan, which he'll release at news conferences Monday in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

City Hall as of Sunday had released few concrete details on the plan, and a mayoral spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

The city has had a 75 percent increase in median apartment rent since 2000 -- 31 percentage points higher than the rest of the country -- and those earning between $20,000 and $40,000 spent, on average, 41 percent of their income on rent in 2012, according to a report released late last month by city Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. The median city monthly rent in 2012 was $1,100, the report said.

De Blasio has acknowledged high housing costs as a hurdle in curbing inequality. "If you want to fight income inequality, reduce the greatest expense that people face," he told Rose.

De Blasio's affordable housing-plan was to be released last Thursday, but was postponed as he finalized a contract agreement with the United Federation of Teachers.

Affordable housing marks the next of de Blasio's large-scale agenda items after his campaign to win a tax to fund universal prekindergarten wrapped up last month with $300 million set aside in state coffers.

Earlier this year, the mayor secured 40 additional affordable units from the developers of the Domino sugar refinery site in Brooklyn and 139 more units -- as well as 1,650 living-wage jobs -- at the Hudson Yards site in Manhattan.

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