Under Daneek's leadership, over 2,000 new units of affordable housing units are coming to the Jamaica area. These brand new apartments feature community spaces, access to public transportation, and local community board preferences. Projects such as the First Jamaica Community & Urban Development Corporation's Tree of Life complex, Archer Merrick, The Pavilion at Locust Manor will help stabilize our community and provide sensible housing options for returning college students, retirees, and new residents.
In 2015, Council Member Miller advocated for the introduction of the Foreclosure Buyback Initiative, a Council funded pilot program that provided $1M towards a fund that would to keep existing homeowners in their homes by providing mortgage modifications and refinancing options. This funding also supported solutions for vacant properties to achieve neighborhood stabilization. The program was a subset of the Community Restoration Program, a joint venture championed by HUD, FHA, and several non-profits.
In the spring of 2016, the City announced the purchase of 24 distressed mortgages for one-to-four family homes, impacting a total of 41 households. This achievement is the first of its kind, where a municipality has stepped in to purchase distressed FHA notes that otherwise would have been auctioned to a hedge fund or developer.
Southeast Queens continues to have the largest population of homeowners struggling to recover from the 2008 economic downturn, and so this program was designed specifically with them in mind. Eleven of the 24 mortgages purchased are properties in Queens; all of the properties are in Southeast Queens. After purchasing the notes, the non-profit partner organizations work with homeowners, providing counseling and identifying potential solutions to keep them in their home.
The total project cost of $13 million is being funded with the $1M from City Council, $2.3M grant from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a major national affordable housing group, as part of a bank settlement obtained by the New York State Attorney General's Office, $2.9 million in funds received from Morgan Stanley as part of a settlement obtained by the New York State Attorney General's Office, and $6.9 million in financing from Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group. In FY17, the Council doubled its funding for the program to $2M.
On September 8, 2016, Daneek and other elected officials held a press conference on the steps of City Hall to denounce the racially discriminatory practices that HUD has historically undertaken when selling distressed mortgage notes to private investors. He also co-authored an op-ed in Crain's with Council Member Donovan Richards and Daniel Garodnick to advocate for the expansion of the Mortgage Buyback Program.
Daneek has also partnered with Neighborhood Restore, Habitat for Humanity, and Center for New York City Neighborhoods to rehabilitate blighted properties in the district and offer them at affordable rates to first time homebuyers.