Urban Affairs

The Urban Affairs program is focused on projects that enhance New York City’s vitality as a leading and livable urban capital.

We partner with civic and cultural institutions, local government, and independent nonprofits that design innovative, feasible initiatives to address the common needs of diverse New Yorkers.

The Foundation continually seeks opportunities to strengthen the city’s pluralistic communities and civic spaces, re-envisioning public libraries, affordable housing, and local public affairs journalism to cultivate engaged, creative urban citizens.

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Featured Project: JOE NYC

Dancers at a block party sponsored by CDC Banana Kelly.

Founded in 2015, JOE NYC is a new Joint Ownership Entity for nonprofit-owned affordable housing assets in New York City. JOE NYC’s roots date back to 2013, when a working group of the City’s most prominent and successful community-based development corporations (CDCs) joined forces to explore the feasibility of establishing an entity like a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) for the community-based housing sector.

CDCs have long played a pivotal role in the development of affordable housing, often serving as the ‘loss leaders’ in the revitalization of low-income communities, setting the stage for the remarkable turnaround and attendant private-sector interest and investment. However, as property values have increased and the development of affordable housing has become even more competitive, many nonprofits and CDCs have faced a unique set of challenges in delivering affordable housing stock in low- and moderate-income communities.

JOE NYC was created to assemble ownership of affordable housing projects owned by CDCs, into one entity of substantially greater scale. JOE NYC serves as asset manager of its portfolio of properties, improving operating margins of contributed properties by achieving economies of scale through the bulk purchase of energy, goods, and services.  Based on its CDC members, JOE NYC has the balance sheet strength to refinance and recapitalize contributed CDC Projects without the need to joint venture with a for-profit partner, which also enables the organization to act as a co-guarantor to its CDC members on new affordable housing developments. JOE NYC is helping to ensure the long-term affordability of the properties in its portfolio and the stability of the communities within which they are located.