The City Council is expected to vote next month on Innovation Queens, which is a $2 billion mixed-use development that would bring more than 2,800 units to Astoria.
Councilmember Julie Won joined Bobby Cuza on “Inside City Hall” Wednesday to discuss what she believes is lacking from the project.
“When we talk about affordable housing, affordability means that we should be paying about one third of our monthly income for our rent,” she said.
Last week at Won’s public hearing, she said she asked the developers of the project if they have a verbal agreement on raising the affordability percentage. They told her no.
Innovation Queens originally promised 25% of the new units to be affordable, but recently changed that percentage to 40%.
Won, who wants 55% of the units to be affordable, added that change in the number of affordable units is to be determined.
“But at the end of the day, it’s about affordability,” she said.
She continued that the housing crisis is an affordable housing crisis because “we’ve allowed luxury high-end units, the production of them, to outpace the production of affordable units in our city.”
According to Won, there are over 5,000 people in the shelter system in her district alone.
“In reality, we’re not just talking about a dumpster or a trucking depot, we’re talking about a very thriving immigrant neighborhood,” she said. “All of us want to see affordable housing there and that’s what we’re aligned on.”
She said in Long Island City, her predecessors built over 24,000 units of luxury developments — bringing increasing rent 43% since 2010.
“People want to make sure that they’re not becoming homeless because we have seen so many of our neighbors become unhoused,” she said. “And in order for us to do that, for us to guarantee people our safety and livelihood and basic need of having a roof over their head is building affordable housing because we’re not going to build ourselves out of affordable housing by building luxury development.”