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August 7, 2009 @ 10:55 am

Reading: Bloomberg administration dropped the ball on housing deal

Farriella for News

Via Adam Lisberg and The Daily News:

The Bloomberg administration never checked to see if developers who got discounted city land in exchange for building affordable housing kept their end of the deal, the Daily News has learned.

The Cornerstone Program was supposed to transfer vacant city-owned land to private developers who promised to build 2,191 homes there, with 1,510 units designated for low-or middle-income New Yorkers.

Yet the Department of Housing Preservation and Development has not followed up to see whether developers complied with those terms, an audit obtained by The News found.

“HPD did not maintain accurate information on the number of developments participating in the Cornerstone Program or any information on the number of affordable units being developed,” the audit by Controller William Thompson said. HPD replied that it was upgrading its computer system that tracks affordable housing development. Some of the land in the program was sold to developers for as little a $1.

The audit also found fault with HPD’s qualifying lotteries for the coveted homes, which consisted of applicant envelopes randomly plucked from black plastic bags.

In one March lottery, the post office mistakenly sent more than 200 entries to the wrong post office box. “More than 200 applicants were denied a chance to participate,” the audit said.

“HPD should consider automating the housing lottery process by making it possible to complete the application online or through the 311 system.”

The audit is scheduled for release today, during a week in which Thompson – Bloomberg’s likely rival for mayor – is focusing on housing.

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