With the mayor’s new housing plan released, many neighborhoods throughout the city can expect major changes.
The plan, among many other things, seeks to make specific areas more dense, build 80,000 new affordable housing units and transfer more families in homeless shelters to New York City Housing Authority apartments.
As one of the more socioeconomically diverse neighborhoods in the city, Long Island City is in a particularly interesting position.
“I think we’re all thinking about the challenges,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said. “We have the new development of Hunters Point South, which has 5,000 new units which are not even fully up yet.”
Hunters Point South, which was referenced in the mayor’s housing plan as a case study, has been booming with development — both commercial and residential. But the biggest influx of people will not come until all three apartment buildings are fully up and running.
“I think what’s important with the planning process is that infrastructure precede development and that we prepare for the needs of communities that do not exist yet,” Van Bramer said.
The councilman has said on numerous occasion that transportation is a major problem facing the people of Hunters Point, which will only worsen as more apartment buildings are open.
Van Bramer has pitched increasing No. 7 train service — which is currently lacking due to weekend construction — and ferry service as well as developing an express bus dedicated to Hunters Point South. He also has pressed the city to bring its bike share program.
But Long Island City will not just have to deal with the issues that come with rapid population increase in the upper-class areas; public housing will be changing as well.
Under Mayor de Blasio’s plan, families living in homeless shelters will be moved to the top of waiting lists for public housing apartments.
This may pose a particular problem for Long Island City, which holds the Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing complex in the nation.
Van Bramer said as far as he knows, there was not a waiting list problem at Queensbridge but what remains unknown is whether wait times will drastically increase with more homeless families being filtered in.
Van Bramer said he has more NYCHA complexes in his district that any other Council member in the city. And with more than 50,000 people staying overnight in shelters — according to the Coalition for the Homeless — the area will most likely see an increase in public housing residents if de Blasio’s plan follows through as promised.
The councilman said he is and will forever continue to be there for those living in public housing.
“I love my public housing developments and I love the people who call the houses home,” Van Bramer said. “It’s a special relationship and an obligation of mine to devote everything I’ve got to making life better for the residents of public housing in my district.”
The councilman said he will keep an eye out for any overcrowding issues in Queensbridge and the other public houses in his district.