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NY1's Grace Rauh takes a closer look at the mayor's plans and the hurdles to building and accessing affordable housing in the five boroughs.

Brick By Brick: De Blasio Taking Ambitious Approach to City's Affordable Housing Problem

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Building tens of thousands of new affordable apartments over the next decade is one of Mayor Bill de Blasio's top priorities, but reaching his ambitious goal is going to be a huge challenge. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report, her first in a series on the mayor's affordable housing plans.

In a city as diverse as New York, there is one issue that nearly everyone can relate to: the high cost of housing.

Unless you are among the lucky few to land a rent-regulated apartment, residents here increasingly find themselves spending hefty chunks of their paychecks on rent. The affordable housing crunch has triggered waves of gentrification. It even inspired the creation of a political party, the Rent is Too Damn High Party.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is hardly the first mayor to try and tackle the problem, but his approach is shaping up to be the most ambitious the city has seen in recent memory.

"This plan, over the next 10 years, will create opportunity for so many people who are currently being priced out of our city," de Blasio said on May 5.

The proposal calls for building or preserving 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade.

"I think in terms of the priority for the administration, I would put it up there in the top three," said Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen.

The mayor wants to preserve 120,000 affordable units and construct 80,000 new ones.

Vishaan Chakrabarti, an architect and Columbia University professor who previously ran the Department of City Planning's Manhattan office, says if the mayor is going to hit his affordable housing target, he will have to build the equivalent of one Co-op City every two years.

"It doesn't necessarily mean huge buildings everywhere, but it does mean that communities that are very concerned about inequity need to also get behind the idea that that means that they need to support more housing and more affordable housing in their neighborhoods," Chakrabarti said.

As the mayor is beginning to discover, one of the biggest challenges facing his plan is local resistance to new development, affordable or otherwise.

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