NYC Mayor's State of City speech to focus on his ambitious affordable housing plan

Mayor Bill de Blasio's annual State of the City address will focus on his administration's affordable housing plan, an ambitious proposal he aims to place at the centerpiece of his 2015 agenda.

De Blasio's speech, to be delivered Tuesday morning in Manhattan, will expand on a plan first announced last spring. The mayor has established a goal of saving or creating 200,000 affordable units over 10 years and, if successful, the program would develop housing for more than 500,000 people — more than the city populations of Atlanta, Miami or New Orleans.

The mayor's staff said the speech would flesh out some of the details of the program and attempt to connect it to the everyday lives of New Yorkers.

In a video released by his office Monday, de Blasio framed the intended message of the speech as: "We're going to come to the neighborhood, and we're going to work with you, and you're a part of this."

De Blasio has billed the program "the biggest affordable housing plan anyone's tried anywhere at any time at the local level in the history of the republic." Last year, the city saved and preserved more than 17,300 affordable units, enough to house nearly 42,000 people.

Housing costs are exorbitant in much of the city, and for most New Yorkers, their monthly housing payment is their largest expense.

De Blasio's advisers said this year's speech — scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Baruch College — would eschew the formulas of recent State of the City addresses and not be a laundry list of campaign-style promises and agenda items. Instead, it will largely focus on one topic, housing, and will be linked to de Blasio's pledge to combat the city's income inequality problem.

The central role of the housing plan in 2015 will be akin to the focus on prekindergarten expansion a year ago, the mayor's staff said. One piece of the plan is to build 1,500 new affordable live-work spaces for New York City artists by 2024.

The mayor will also make a call to find permanent housing by year's end for the 1,000 veterans living in city homeless shelters.