Councilmember Rafael Espinal and District Leader Nikki Lucas are hosting a Town Hall on the new East New York Basement Apartment Conversion Pilot Program on Saturday, March 30, at Hope City Church.

The program officially took effect at the beginning of March, when Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a new law that makes changes to the city’s building and fire codes to allow East New York homeowners create legal dwellings in their basements.

“With foreclosures on the rise, programs like this give New Yorkers the additional income they need to keep their homes,” said Espinal. “The basement pilot program is going to stabilize the livelihood of many of my neighbors in East New York, while expanding and securing the number of legal, safe and affordable units available to rent.”

The program provides eligible homeowners living in one- to three-family homes with low or no-interest loans to convert their basements into safe and rentable apartments, based on the altered building code.

The town hall aims to educate local residents regarding the modified codes that include minimum ceiling heights and window sizes in basement and cellar spaces, and strengthened requirements for emergency egress and fire safety. Representatives of the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and the Cypress Hill Local Development Corporation, among others, will be on site to discuss the program.

Additionally, homeowners can also learn about low or no-interest loans to convert their basements into safe, legal and rentable apartments, as well as how to receive technical assistance regarding their construction projects. DeBlasio announced $5.7 million to make low-interest loans available to help homeowners bring their dwellings up to code.

The town hall is for residents of East New York, the only NYC neighborhood that will pilot the program.

The area was chosen as the pilot’s launch site because of its ideal mix of one- and two-family homes, which often have unoccupied or illegally occupied basement units; the program is also part of the 2016 East New York Neighborhood Plan that includes a focus on preserving and creating affordable housing in the area.

Homeowners who cannot attend the town hall, but are interested in the pilot program, can learn more by calling 311 or visiting nyc.gov/basementconversion.

ENY Basement Apartment Pilot Town Hall

When: Saturday, March 30, 11:00am – 1:00pm; doors open at 10:30am

Where: Hope City Church, 369 New Lots Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11207

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