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Sustainable upgrades will help Chinatown rental remain affordable

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The 20-unit studio building will remain income-restricted for the next 40 years

In a city where housing costs are constantly on the rise and chances of landing one of those so-called affordable housing units are almost as slim as winning the Powerball itself, it’s refreshing to hear a different narrative. A small 20-unit apartment building in Chinatown will receive $2.2 million towards not only preserving its affordability but also towards making it more sustainable.

Through a partnership with Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), Enterprise Community Loan Fund (ECLF) has announced a deal to rehabilitate the building at 81 Madison Street by introducing energy efficient features to the heating, electric, and plumbing systems. The renovation will also include lead and asbestos abatement, replacement of interior walls, and new kitchen and bathroom tiling for each of the five-story building’s 20 studio apartments. In addition to all of this, the building will remain income-restricted for 40 years, preserving affordability in a neighborhood that is gearing up for an influx of change and potential rezoning.

"With the homes of immigrants and working families under constant threat, ensuring the long term affordability of 81 Madison Street is a great victory for these residents and for the community. The additional energy efficiency upgrades and environmental health improvements will also give residents the peace of mind to rest easy each night," stated AAFE executive director Christopher Kui.

81 Madison Street is one of the first recipients of the HPD’s Green Housing Preservation Program loans. The program was designed to provide small and mid-size building owners with low- and no-interest loans to finance moderate building rehabilitations and sustainable enhancements, while helping to preserve affordable housing for low-income households.