Applications to HPD are in full swing for privately financed projects under the Affordable Independent Residences for Seniors Program (AIRS), which was re-branded by HPD as the Privately Financed Affordable Senior Housing Program (PFASH).

PFASH is a game changer for residential and mixed-use developments located outside of areas that are eligible to earn a zoning bonus under HPD’s Voluntary Inclusionary Housing Program (VIH). Participation in PFASH encourages development by entitling projects in certain residential zoning districts that are not eligible for a zoning bonus under VIH to a foot-for-foot floor area bonus and height increase in exchange for the construction of PFASH units.

Better still, many new construction projects that are located outside of Voluntary Inclusionary Housing zones, or are located in Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) zones, and are seeking a tax exemption under the 421-a Program, can now develop additional floor area that would serve to fulfill both the MIH and 421-a affordability requirements. By having the same floor area meet the affordability requirements of both MIH and 421-a simultaneously, valuable as-of-right floor area for the construction of market-rate units can be freed up.

The value of the zoning bonus under PFASH cannot be overstated. Eligible projects already furnishing affordable housing in satisfaction of MIH and/or 421-a can “double dip” or even “triple dip” by utilizing the PFASH units to satisfy those obligations, thus allowing for the construction of additional market-rate units. The resulting increase in market-rate rental revenue is likely to far exceed the extra costs of construction. For example, the permitted floor area ratio in an R7 zone can be increased by up to nearly 40 percent, from 3.6 to 5.01 with PFASH units.

The PFASH Term Sheet, which HPD only recently released, summarizes the requirements of the program, which include the following:

  • 90 percent of the PFASH units must be occupied by at least one person who is 62 or older.
  • Rents for PFASH units cannot exceed 30 percent of 80 percent of Area Median Income.
  • All PFASH units and common areas must meet the mobility impairment and hearing/vision impairment accessibility requirements of the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS).
  • Accessory or social facilities that are suitable for seniors, with a square footage at least equal to 4 percent of the PFASH floor area must be provided on-site.

Seiden & Schein, P.C. is the industry leader of the AIRS (or PFASH) Program and has a number of PFASH Projects in process.

For more information about the PFASH Program and the application process, please feel free to contact Alvin Schein [email protected] or David Shamshovich [email protected] by email or by phone at (212) 935-1400.