December 9, 2015 8:42 PM

NEW YORK – In a strong show of support, the Hotel Trades Council, with 30,000 members living in NYC, today issued a letter to the Department of City Planning endorsing Mayor de Blasio’s affordable housing zoning plans.

“Quality, affordable housing is the lifeblood of New York City. That is why our members are united in support of Mayor de Blasio’s ambitious affordable housing plan and the important zoning changes that support it. For the first time, Mandatory Inclusionary Housing will require that developers shoulder some of the cost of building affordable housing in our city, stretching public subsidies further. Zoning for Quality and Affordability will result in more much-needed senior housing, better community facilities and commercial space for retail and jobs in our neighborhoods. These two proposals together mean one thing: more affordable housing for working and middle class New Yorkers. We strongly support the Mayor and his administration on this bold plan, and urge all City Council members to pass these initiatives to help build a livable future for all New Yorkers,” said HTC President Peter Ward.

A full copy of the letter is below:

Dear Chairman Weisbrod,

I am writing today to voice our union’s full throated support for Mayor de Blasio and your administration’s push to adopt two important zoning amendments, Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) and Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA). The amendments are needed to create and preserve the 200,000 affordable homes that we so desperately need for everyday New Yorkers.

Affordable housing is the lifeblood of New York City. It is a top concern of our members, and I am proud to support the administration on this critical issue.

At the New York Hotel Trades Council, we represent approximately 30,000 working people living in the five boroughs. Our members work in the hotels that support our city’s important business and tourism industries, including as concierges, housekeepers, security guards and valets. Like all New Yorkers, our members are being hit hard by skyrocketing rents, and are finding it harder and harder to afford to stay in their own homes and in their own neighborhoods.

MIH and ZQA are well-calibrated proposals carefully aimed at making our city’s housing stock more affordable — before it’s too late. They do that by requiring that developers shoulder some of the costs of building affordable housing, and by streamlining zoning codes to make affordable housing better and easier to build.

For the first time in this city, MIH will make it mandatory, not optional, for developers to construct affordable housing in any rezoning before they can construct any market rate housing. That instantly translates into homes for middle and working class families and means that 25% or more of any new housing built in our city will be permanently affordable to hardworking families. And, that will be true without the city paying a dime. Further, by requiring developers to build affordable homes, the city will free up funds to help support households who need the most help — the poorest and neediest among us. This program will allow us to dramatically increase the amount of affordable housing in New York City.

We are also proud to support ZQA, which will update zoning codes that currently make the development of affordable housing overly costly and inefficient. Adopting ZQA means more affordable units can be built because less space is wasted. That kind of waste cannot be allowed to continue, particularly as we face the worst housing crisis in decades. This proposal is also intended to make senior affordable housing facilities better places for their residents like our retirees, including by allowing better space for health clinics and senior centers. We cannot ignore these benefits.

Along with the City Council, Mayor de Blasio has demonstrated a clear commitment to helping working people stay in their homes and their neighborhoods, now and for generations to come. These are changes for the ages, and our members will stand with the mayor, his administration – and all those who need affordable housing – to make history.

Peter Ward

New York Hotel Trades Council