2017 UNHP Research on Cost of Water and New 2018 Discounted Water Rate Program

The NYC Water Board voted to pass a $10M Multi-family Water Assistance Program to help buildings with long-term affordability agreements with the City and credits were awarded for 2018. Dozens of Bronx buildings that had applied for the $10 million Multifamily Water Assistance Program started to receive their rebate. The program was approved again for 2019.

UNHP’s June 2017 report entitled “Addressing the Ongoing Need for Affordable Water for Affordable Housing” called for the enactment of the Multi-family Water Assistance Program in Fiscal Year 2018 (FY 2018). In response, The NYC Water Board voted to pass a $10M Multi-family Water Assistance Program to help buildings with long-term affordability agreements with the City and credits were awarded for 2018. Dozens of Bronx buildings that had applied for the Multifamily Water Assistance Program started to receive their credit.

The cost of water continues to be a substantial portion of the operating costs for buildings currently providing affordable housing in New York City. Income and expense data for multi-family buildings from the New York City Rent Guidelines Board and a set of community-controlled, affordable housing properties in the Bronx show the disproportionate impact of the cost of water in affordable housing buildings. The Multi-family Water Assistance Program represents an important first step in addressing the issue in apartment buildings providing affordable housing. UNHP supports the expansion of Multifamily Water Assistance program and continues to oppose even moderate rate increases to water and sewer rates. The Bronx continues to be the borough with the lowest incomes and any increase has a disproportionate effect in the Bronx when compared to the rest of the city.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), in conjunction with HPD and the Housing Development Corporation (HDC), offered the water and sewer credit for eligible HPD- or HDC-assisted affordable multifamily housing projects. Applications are available here, but enrollment for 2018 is closed.

See UNHP’s 2017 research on the Ongoing Need for Affordable Water for Affordable Housing and our comments to the Water Board at the link on the right. Our original report issued in April 2015 Affordable Water for Affordable Housing can be found here. History of our work for affordable water rates can be found on our blog posts linked here and here.