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Lander, Lasher propose home-ownership program for city workers


Build it and they will come … work. 

In a bid to attract municipal employees, the city comptroller and a former director of policy for Governor Kathy Hochul have proposed launching a program to help city workers buy homes. In a Sunday Daily News op-ed, Brad Lander and Micah Lasher, now a state Assembly candidate, outlined what they are calling a “Homes for City Workers” program. 

Accordingly, city pension funds would pay either half of the purchase price or half of the appraised value, whichever is less, of a house or apartment purchased by qualified city workers. The funds would then own 50 percent of the house and be entitled to half of the sales price if the home is sold.

The property would have to have a market value that is below $1 million and be located in one of the five boroughs. Lander and Lasher estimated that, for a house with the city’s median sale price of $785,000, a homeowner would see their monthly mortgage slashed from $4,400 a month to $2,200 a month.

Employees would have to work for the city full-time for five years to be eligible. The program would create home-buying opportunities for an estimated 200,000-plus teachers, police officers and other city workers, they said.

Lander and Lasher suggested that the initiative would help retain both city employees and middle-class New Yorkers, who have been increasingly priced out of the city, and generate a “meaningful investment return” to the city’s pension funds. City workers — many of whom are subject to residency requirements — have increasingly found it difficult to afford to live where they work.

A December report from the Fiscal Policy Institute found that nearly 200,000 New Yorkers who earned less than $172,000 a year left the city between 2017 and 2022, with those earning between $32,000 and $65,000 departing at the highest rate. The program would also help make home ownership achievable for more New Yorkers — currently, families must earn more than $250,000 to buy a typical home, they argued.

“The effect would be dramatic for city workers — cutting housing costs in half and doubling their purchasing power,” the op-ed reasoned. “It would be a strong incentive for people to enter the municipal workforce, and for those public servants to live and raise their families in New York City neighborhoods.”

Lander and Lasher noted in a briefing outlining details of the program that the city “has struggled to compete against the private sector for workers, with private sector jobs offering faster-rising salaries and more hybrid work flexibility than government jobs.”

“As middle-class families continue to leave the city, we must make the City more attractive — and affordable — to the workers who make NYC the greatest city in the world,” they continued.

They highlighted the city’s vacancy rate, which although below the peak rate reached in 2022, stood at 5.5 percent, according to January’s preliminary data cited by Lander’s office. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli noted in a recent report that the city’s vacancy rate as of January was slightly lower, at 5.1 percent.

“Homes for City Workers” is modeled after a similar initiative for tenured faculty and senior staffers at Princeton University. The university funds up to one-third of the purchase price of single-family homes that are located within the Princeton area, in exchange for one-third ownership.


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  • Corner Store

    Excellent proposal!

    Tuesday, May 21 Report this

  • Wish this was around when I got my coop

    Wednesday, May 22 Report this