Over the span of the last 40 years, the city has become the largest municipal developer of affordable housing in the United States. In this brief history of New York’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) we look at the "how" and "why" HPD came to be as well as give you an update on HPD today.
Formally Launched in 1978
The HPD agency was formally established in 1978 with a functional mission of providing for the constructions and preservation of affordable, high-quality housing for low-to-moderate income New Yorkers living in diverse neighborhoods across the city. Headquartered in Lower Manhattan, the department has branch offices throughout the city’s five boroughs.
Its three-tiered focus includes (1) preserving affordable housing and protecting tenants; (2) developing new, affordable housing; (3) engaging neighbors in planning.
The current principal initiative of the agency is to spearhead “Housing New York,” a push by Mayor Bill de Blasio, with a 2026 goal of building or preserving 300,000 affordable homes. It works in partnership with more than a dozen sister agencies, advocates, developers, tenants, community organizations, financial institutions and elected officials.
Rolled out in 2014, Housing New York: A Five-Borough, Ten-Year Plan, provides a comprehensive set of policies and programs to address the city’s affordable housing crisis while retaining the diversity and vitality of its neighborhoods.
Phase 2.0 of Housing New York kicked in during 2017 and is designed to introduce a new suite of initiatives to help thousands more families and seniors afford their rent, buy a first home and remain in the neighborhoods they love.
HPD is responsible for the property registration and code enforcement services.
Preservation PartnershipsThe New York HPD webpage has some links with critical information about the program under separate icons for renters, owners, developers, vendors, the Community, and Section 8 housing more frequently referred to today as the Housing Choice Voucher program (HCV). Its working partnership and collaboration with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is detailed, including information about HPD violations and the filing of complaints.
Information also contained on the agency’s webpage includes annual Reports, Open Data, Building Data, Metrics, and Accessibility. HPD also offers a monthly Citywide Performance Rating (CPR) snapshot that measures the performance of more than 40 City agencies, including Section 8 utilization rates and the number of housing units started under the New York Housing Plan.
In its most recent update for the fiscal year 2017, Housing New York: Three Years of Progress, the agency reported the financing of 7,705 new apartments and 16,588 preserved homes. Those numbers reflect a direct investment of $1-billion by the City of New York, which leveraged more than $1.3-billion in bonds issued by the Housing Development Corporation during the entirety of Fiscal Year 2017.
That figure brought the total direct City investment under the housing plan to $2.8-billion, and total bond financing of $5.5-billion. More details of the financial infrastructure of the program are available at the NYC Housing website.
A Watchdog Role As Well
Under New York City’s Housing Maintenance Code, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development also issues violations against conditions in rental dwelling units that have been verified to violate New York City’s Housing Maintenance Code (HMC) of the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law (MDL). This information can be accessed by the link NYC Open Data.