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Spitzer Approves Changes To Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

Governor Eliot Spitzer today approved major changes to the State’s Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) which sets guidelines for the distribution of hundreds of millions of dollars in Federal and State Low Income Housing Tax Credits to affordable housing developers. Continuing his “15 x 15” commitment to lower New York’s energy consumption, and his promise to make it the best place to live, work, raise a family and run a business, the Governor’s new guidelines will improve the efficiency, environmental quality and affordability of New York’s housing stock.

The Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) will now require inclusion of “green” elements in all funded projects. Progressive measures such as Energy Star appliances, light fixtures and heating systems, lead-safe work practices, water conserving fixtures and daylight sensors or timers on outdoor lighting are now mandatory. The program will now also encourage brownfield redevelopment, solar energy, measures to promote healthy indoor air quality, and sustainable development measures such as “smart” project siting and surface water management plans.

“The new Qualified Allocation Plan aligns affordable housing investment strategies with environmentally-responsible building practices,” said Governor Spitzer. “It will encourage smart growth and energy efficiency, while also helping us achieve our goals: lowering energy consumption by 15 percent by 2015; preserving and rehabilitating affordable housing; and revitalizing upstate communities. These new guidelines will play a critical role in ensuring that our affordable housing stock is the best in the nation.”

Assemblymember Vito Lopez, Chair of the Assembly Housing Committee said: “I commend Governor Spitzer and Commissioner VanAmerongen for rewarding the projects who go “Green.” This step should help bring down the operating costs of these buildings as well as reducing their environmental impact on the surrounding communities.”

Senator John Bonacic, Chairman of the Senate Housing Committee said: “The use of green technology reduces energy costs for tenants and helps create a cleaner environment. It is a win for residents of affordable housing and a win for all who value a cleaner Earth.”

Senator Liz Krueger said: “I applaud Governor Spitzer for recognizing the direct relationship between our building standards and the goal of decreasing global warming. Providing “green” building standards for builders of affordable housing demonstrates that New York State is continuing to move, at all levels, toward more environmentally sound and responsible policies.”

Assemblymember Michael Fitzpatrick said: “The Governor and DHCR are taking the right steps by making these changes to the State’s QAP. This initiative will go a long way in making the State of New York the undisputed leader in energy efficiency and environmental responsibility, while providing affordable housing opportunities for the hard working people of this great state.”

Deborah VanAmerongen, Commissioner of DHCR said: “DHCR has developed new green standards, as part of the new QAP, that encourage – and sometimes require – affordable housing developers seeking housing tax credits to adopt energy efficiency, green building and smart growth principles. Revising the QAP was a top priority for DHCR over the past year and proved to be a major endeavor. We sought input from all our public and private sector partners, including housing advocates, not for profit and private housing developers, supportive housing providers, lenders and investors from across New York State. This has been a truly collaborative process.”

In addition to making the State more environmentally friendly, the new QAP also addresses other priorities set by Governor Spitzer, including:
Preservation of existing affordable housing;
Assuring long-term housing affordability;
Supportive housing which provides services for people with special needs;
Projects that address specific needs within the community and coordinate efforts and resources with local Governments; and,
Projects that offer enhanced accessibility for persons with physical disabilities.

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