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The $4 billion the city has spent since 1985 on constructing and renovating housing bought more than a roof over the head of more than 150,000 households. It also created at least 99,000 jobs and $4.5 billion in personal income from construction and additional spending by building trades workers, according to a new report authored by Alex Schwartz of the New School’s Community Development Research Center and two staffers at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).

According to “The Economic Impact of New York City’s Housing Investments: At the Crossroads,” the city’s housing investment has so far netted $307 million in sales, excise and other taxes from the development work alone. The report estimates that in 20 years these buildings will pay for themselves in taxes–and after that, the city will see a profit. Meanwhile, the housing’s residents create another $162 million annually in taxes from their personal spending. If those tenants couldn’t find housing here, their lost income would mean 25,000 fewer jobs in the city and a subsequent $913 million loss in personal income.

The sponsors of the report include organizations that were integral to the late-1980s, early-1990s surge in city housing investment, such as LISC, The Enterprise Foundation, the New York City Housing Partnership and the Corporation for Supportive Housing. Left unmentioned is the larger, more ominous point: Since the Giuliani administration came into office, city capital spending on housing has dropped more than 35 percent. For a copy of the report fax LISC at 212-687-1396.

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