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De Blasio: City Is In Dire Need Of More Affordable Housing

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio on Sunday presented a plan to preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing, thus meeting the city's demands over the decade to come.

De Blasio announced the plan Sunday afternoon at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, at 4301 Avenue D in Brooklyn.

He said the number of people in homeless shelters is the highest number it has been in 30 years, and blamed Mayor Michael Bloomberg in part for failing to create enough incentives and mandates for the real estate industry to create affordable housing.

The de Blasio proposal calls for about an even split between newly-built affordable housing and preserved units. He said the core difference in his plan up against the Bloomberg approach is that his would mandate the creation of affordable housing in large developments, and end the tax breaks now in place for keeping vacant land off the market so that vacant land would be made available for more development.

De Blasio suggested using $1 billion in pension fund money to finance the project and speed up the process, which he called a more aggressive approach than what Bloomberg used.

De Blasio also said he wants to see new affordable housing distributed more evenly around the five boroughs. He said under Bloomberg, the affordable housing was built disproportionately in Manhattan.

The strongest gentrification pressures demanding affordable housing are currently in Brooklyn, de Blasio said.

De Blasio announced his candidacy for the Democratic mayoral primary back in January.

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