New York, NY, October 4, 2007 — New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. today announced an investment of more than $28 million on behalf of the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) of the City of New York to create affordable housing for educators in New York City schools.
The Comptroller’s Office, on behalf of the TRS purchased $28,265,000 2007 Series D bonds issued by the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) bearing a market rate of interest to finance the construction and permanent mortgage loans for two residential buildings in the Melrose section of the Bronx.
The residential buildings constructed from the proceeds of the bonds will provide affordable housing for New York City educators, including teachers, teaching aides and educational administrators (principals and assistant principals). The buildings will be located at 488 and 514 E. 163rd Street and will contain 234 residential units.
Thompson was joined at the news conference by Randi Weingarten, President of the United Federation of Teachers, Emily A. Youssouf, President, New York City Housing Development Corporation, and TRS Trustees.
“Teachers have the tremendous responsibility of educating our young minds, yet often struggle to make ends meet on their modest salaries,” Thompson said. “In fact, many young educators end up leaving New York City all together for more affordable areas. We need to be able to attract and retain skilled educators in our city. By creating more affordable housing options for educators, we can help maintain educational talent in our city. The New York City Pension Funds are committed to the preservation and creation of affordable housing, and it is in this tradition that my office has worked with the Teachers’ Retirement System to make this happen.”
“New York needs workforce housing, and this initiative is an important step toward providing affordable living space to educators,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the United Federation of Teachers. “The UFT has aggressively explored lots of different approaches to affordable housing for educators, but it took the Comptroller’s vision to create a way to get it done and the Mayor’s follow-through to make it happen.
Weingarten continued: “For too many years now, New York City has lost many of its talented new educators – nearly half of them leave within five years on the job. One of the reasons is that housing costs are out of reach, particularly when they want to raise families in New York. This measure in particular will help in a critical area by creating the first workforce housing development that educators can actually afford, allowing them to live in the communities where they work and truly become part of the city’s middle class.”
“We have become the nation’s leading issuer of affordable housing bonds during my tenure at HDC because of projects like this one,” said Emily A. Youssouf, President of the New York City Housing Development Corporation. “This project is particularly satisfying because it represents a combination of innovative thinking, willing partners and the ability to reach consensus to make advances in housing finance. This deal will be a blueprint for the rest of the nation to follow.”
Thompson pointed out that affordable housing may help retain skilled educators in the city. He stated that in 2005, more than 5,000 preschool, kindergarten, elementary and secondary school teachers moved out of the city.
The need to maintain teachers has been an issue that the City has moved to address. Last year, Mayor Bloomberg announced bonuses for math, science and special education teachers who would commit to teach in the city’s toughest schools. The bonuses would provide a total of $14,600 for housing expenses, such as moving expenses, security deposits or down payments on a home.
In addition to Thompson, the TRS’ Trustees are: New York City Finance Commissioner Martha E. Stark (Chair); Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm, New York City Department of Education; and, Sandra March, Melvyn Aaronson and Mona Romain, all of the United Federation of Teachers.