Amalgamated housing co-operative secures $10 million funding after Dinowitz's efforts


The Amalgamated Housing Cooperative has received $10 million in capital funding after lobbying from Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who said he was determined to procure the money for the venerable co-op community.

“I’m very persistent, and I have been raising issues concerning the Amalgamated for some time,” Dinowitz said. 

Back in March, Dinowitz announced he would advocate for additional funding to be added to the state’s executive budget that would include $50 million designated for the Amalgamated Cooperative. When the final budget was approved, he was not successful in securing that funding. So, Dinowitz said, he went back to the Assembly to persist in allocating some money to the cooperative. 

Amalgamated board president Jack Spiegel said the money is critically needed for the cooperative, which has come under fire from cooperators in the last several months for the carrying charge increase that is expected to take effect July 1.

In October of last year, the co-op board appealed to the city’s department of homes and community renewal asking for a carrying charge increase that was eventually granted after an April community hearing. 

The approved carrying charge increase raises prices by 45 percent. 

For Dinowitz, his pleas for funding to help the Amalgamated come from a personal place. He said his mother lived in the housing co-op for decades. So did his brother’s family, which resided in the cooperative for more than 40 years. 

“I care a lot about the Amalgamated,” Dinowitz said. “These are all people who have built a good home for themselves.” 

Dinowitz said he believes the cost of necessary repairs at the Amalgamated extend far beyond what $10 million can cover, but the board will have to determine what the priorities are and where the funding will go. 

An important distinction between the money Dinowitz secured and the carrying charge increase is that the state money can only be used for capital repairs, which are not the same as operating costs that are covered by carrying charges. 

Capital projects include those that improve or build upon the property, whereas operating costs cover items like employee salaries. 

Spiegel said the board already has a list of projects that need to be completed for the co-op’s upkeep and when the money comes through, the board will make decisions on which to tackle first.

Since the $10 million comes from the state, all requests to use it will need to be approved by state overseers. 

Spiegel said, contrary to what some co-operators have asserted, the last thing the board wants is to see residents leave the Amalgamated. 

“We’re very much concerned with the loss of tenants,” Spiegel said. “We certainly don’t want to see any board members, or anyone, leave.” 

Dinowitz and Spiegel said eligible residents can apply for the city’s Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption program, which can freeze rent prices for those age 62 or older living in select affordable housing. Once approved, the freeze would persist through any increases in rent so long as the individual is still eligible. 

Spiegel said more than half of the Amalgamated’s residents are seniors.

Dinowitz said the timeline for when the cooperative receives the money is unclear.

“The money is unfortunately not going to have an impact right now on the carrying charge increase,” he said. “Any time we’re getting capital money from the state there’s a process.” 

Amalgamated Housing Cooperative, $10 million funding, capital repairs, Jeffrey Dinowitz, cooperative community, carrying charge increase, senior housing, affordable housing, state funding, housing co-op repairs