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HPD Launches “Where We Live NYC” – a Comprehensive Fair Housing Planning Process

Data-driven, collaborative effort will result in strategies to address discrimination, residential segregation, and unequal access to opportunities

City launches process to affirm commitment to fair housing law despite recent setbacks from the federal government

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) in partnership with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) today announced the initial kickoff of Where We Live NYC, a comprehensive fair housing planning process to study, understand, and address patterns of residential segregation and how these patterns impact New Yorkers’ access to opportunity – including jobs, education, safety, public transit, and positive health outcomes. Where We Live NYC will include extensive community participation on all aspects of the process, as well as data and policy analysis that will culminate with the release of a public report with measurable goals and strategies that are designed to foster inclusive communities, promote fair housing choice, and increase access to opportunity for all New Yorkers.

“Where We Live NYC is an unprecedented opportunity to work with government partners, community organizations, and the general public to take a comprehensive look at the historic and ongoing factors that contribute to longstanding patterns of segregation in our neighborhoods, and discuss what we as a City can do to increase housing choice and access to opportunity for all New Yorkers,” said HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “I want to thank our many partners in government as well as the Fair Housing Stakeholder Group, and I look forward to having meaningful and candid conversations as we work together to make our city stronger, fairer, and more equitable.”

“Where We Live NYC will help New Yorkers better understand the impact of residential segregation in our City and provides an opportunity to create real strategies to promote fair housing and expand opportunities for all New Yorkers,” said NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye. “We look forward to working closely with HPD as we engage our residents on this exciting plan to make our city a fairer place for all.”

Chair of the New York City Council Committee on Housing and Buildings Robert Cornegy stated: “While the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development continues to turn its back on the communities of color and those who have suffered as a result of systemic bias, it is critical we as a city forge ahead in finding out how best to address the lingering challenges associated with housing policies of the past. Where We Live NYC will allow us to thoroughly assess how our housing policies have and continue to impact residential segregation and allow us to most effectively advance fair housing in New York City.”

This process will involve close coordination with a number of government partners to ensure Where We Live NYC meaningfully builds on existing City efforts and extends beyond housing to look at how residential living patterns relate to New Yorkers’ access to other critical opportunities. HPD is working closely with a set of key government partners including the Department of City Planning, Department of Transportation, Department of Education, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of Social Services, and the NYC Commission on Human Rights, among others.

“Everyone deserves fair and equal access to housing, regardless of the color of their skin, where they’re from, or what language they speak, and the NYC Commission on Human Rights works every day to combat housing discrimination to ensure that they do,” said Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission of Human Rights, Carmelyn P. Malalis. “But, as we at the Commission know too well fair housing is deeply connected to equal access to jobs, education, and economic opportunities that allow New Yorkers and their families to thrive. The Where We Live NYC initiative embraces just that. The Commission commends HPD and NYCHA for this effort and considers this study an important step towards promoting fair housing in New York City. We look forward to working with them and other sister agencies to better assist New Yorkers in getting equal access to housing and the opportunities they need to succeed.”

Marisa Lago, Director of the Department of City Planning, said, “Our city is stronger because of our diversity. Where We Live NYC will engage our communities and gather data to ensure that our policies reflect our commitment to housing a diverse and growing population and making New York City the fairest big city in the nation.”

“A comprehensive fair housing plan will help the City provide more equitable opportunities for New Yorkers,” said Bitta Mostifi, Acting Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “We look forward to working with HPD and NYCHA to support Where We Live NYC and the inclusion of diverse immigrant experiences in the community engagement process.”

Where We Live NYC will involve a comprehensive public engagement process working in close partnership with community leaders, experts, and everyday New Yorkers. As part of this effort, HPD is convening a Fair Housing Stakeholder Group of community-based organizations, faith-based groups, community development corporations, disability advocates, legal service providers, affordable housing developers, private sector representatives, academic researchers, and constituency groups that will help the City to better understand existing neighborhood conditions and the historic and ongoing factors that contribute to segregation, concentrated poverty, and disparities in access to opportunity. The Fair Housing Stakeholder Group will also collaborate with the City to develop goals and strategies the City can implement moving forward to address these challenges. Strategies are expected to include both new and existing City policies, programs, and investments.

Where We Live NYC will also engage New York City residents through focus group-style “Community Conversations” to better understand the factors that contribute to housing and neighborhood choice, and how residential living patterns impact New Yorkers’ lives, families, and access to opportunity. The City issued a Request for Proposals last fall to identify public engagement experts to support this work, and will be bringing on a community-focused consulting firm and a racial justice organization to support the design and implementation of the Community Conversations, which will be led by trained community-based organizations. Where We Live NYC will also include a website, digital engagement campaign, and survey, as well as large public workshops later in the process. The Community Conversations and digital campaign are expected to launch this summer. Surveys and the large public workshops will take place in early 2019.

Both the Fair Housing Stakeholder Group and resident engagement will emphasize the unique challenges faced by different populations protected by fair housing law – including but not limited to immigrants, people with disabilities, seniors, LGBTQ individuals, and different racial, ethnic, and religious communities. Engagement activities will take place in neighborhoods across the five boroughs, and materials will be made accessible in multiple languages and for New Yorkers with disabilities.

The engagement process and report development will follow a three-phased approach:

  • Learn (Spring/Summer 2018) – HPD will work with the Fair Housing Stakeholder Group, residents, and government partners to understand existing conditions, begin data analysis, and prioritize the factors that contribute to fair housing issues in New York City, such as discrimination and access to opportunity.
  • Create (Fall 2018) – HPD will work collaboratively with partners to surface ideas for policy solutions based on the information and contributing factors prioritized in the Learn Phase.
  • Finalize (2019) – HPD will work with partners to develop an initial policy framework that takes into account all input from stakeholders, research, and resident engagement, and will share this initial draft with the Fair Housing Stakeholder Group, residents, and government partners for feedback, with the final draft scheduled for completion in fall 2019.

This process was informed by input from government partners, community leaders, services providers, and academic researchers, who have been engaged throughout the planning of this effort over the past nine months. As part of the initial kickoff, the City will continue to seek feedback on Where We Live NYC’s community engagement approach.

The City is launching Where We Live NYC despite the recent notice from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that delayed implementation of a requirement that cities, states, and public housing authorities perform an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) and implement policies to overcome segregation and discrimination as a condition for receiving federal funding. In response to this federal delay, the City will use the same framing and cover the same content as the AFH as part of Where We Live NYC.

Where We Live NYC was formally announced on Wednesday by HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer at the first convening of the Fair Housing Stakeholder Group. For more information about Where We Live NYC please visit nyc.gov/wherewelivenyc.


About the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD):
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and diverse, thriving neighborhoods for New Yorkers through loan and development programs for new affordable housing, preservation of the affordability of the existing housing stock, enforcement of housing quality standards, and educational programs for tenants and building owners. HPD is tasked with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York Plan which was recently expanded and accelerated through Housing New York 2.0 to complete the initial goal of 200,000 homes two years ahead of schedule—by 2022, and achieve an additional 100,000 homes over the following four years, for a total of 300,000 homes by 2026. For full details visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing.