NHC Holds Annual New York City Awards Luncheon

By Keat Foong, Executive EditorNew York—The New York Housing Conference and the National Housing Conference held their 35th Anniversary Awards Luncheon here at the Marriott Hotel with remarks by special guest New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The Special Recognition Award was given to New York City Housing Authority Chairman Tino Hernandez and General Manager Douglas Apple. Peter Fine, principal of the Atlantic Development Group, received the Housing Developer Award. Bloomberg affirmed that the city will adhere to its New Housing Marketplace Plan, despite the difficult economic environment. “We are not walking away from the commitment,” he said. Bloomberg said that the city’s plan to building and preserving affordable housing is “crucial” to any economic recovery. He said the City of New York is currently half way to achieving its New housing Marketplace Plan goal of creating and preserving 165,000 units of affordable housing in 10 years. He also noted that this is the fourth consecutive year that the city has issued a record number of new residential permits.Donovan, HPD commissioner who received the Public Service Award, said that HPD has one of the “proudest traditions of affordable housing “ of any housing agency in the nation. He cited its rebuilding of the South Bronx as one example. Donovan said this is one of the most difficult environments for affordable housing, and noted  that many projects have ground to a halt because of the financial crisis. Fine, who received the Housing Developer Award, acknowledged the role of government in housing. “In affordable housing probably the most essential partner we have is government,” he said, adding that it is “impossible” to build affordable housing without some form of subsidy from the government. Fine said that New York City has a history of supporting affordable housing without waiting for help from the federal government. Hernandez, chairman of the New York City Housing Authority who won the special recognition award, said that he is “extremely hopeful” that with the new federal administration and stimulus package ways will continue to be found in investing in housing and public housing.