De Blasio administration moves to foreclose on hundreds of homes in black and Hispanic neighborhoods
Mayor de Blasio’s administration has targeted at least 420 properties for foreclosure under a controversial policy that allows the city to take away buildings, and years’ worth of equity, from homeowners in predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods, city records revealed.
Brooklyn, upper Manhattan and the South Bronx have been most affected by the policy, known commonly as the third-party transfer program, data from the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development shows.
Since 2015, de Blasio’s second year in City Hall, the city has initiated transfer proceedings under the policy on 69 buildings in the 35th and 36th City Council districts, which cover Bedford Stuyvesant, Fort Greene and Crown Heights. Of those, seven buildings have been transferred to an interim owner, the non-profit Neighborhood Restore.
The city launched the program in the late 1990′s under Mayor Giuliani as an alternative to the tax lien auctions used to extract payment from property owners who owed taxes or water and sewer bills. Once auctioned, the city had little control over what a landlord could do with a building’s tenants. Under third-party transfer, the city is able to ensure they aren’t displaced and their units remain affordable.