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"Affordable Housing" in NYC - For Whom?

There are rich doors and poor doors - Are moderate and middle income New Yorkers being left out?
When mayor Bloomberg first introduced the New Housing Marketplace plan in 2002, more than 40 percent of New Yorkers spent more than 35 percent of their incomes on housing, a position that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development considers cost-burdened.

The original goal was to create or preserve 65,000 units of affordable housing by subsidizing or incentivizing new construction and rehabilitating existing affordable housing. In 2005, Bloomberg optimistically reset the goal, stating the city would create or preserve 165,000 affordable units by the end of 2014 with a $7.5 billion investment from the city.

One notable aspect of mayor Bloomberg's plan was its focus on creating more housing for moderate and middle income families, something few past programs have addressed. This category includes, but is not limited to, people living on $58,000 a year as individuals, or up to $145,000 a year for a family of four.

During the Bloomberg administration: "We want to retain a large and varied workforce in the city,” said Ruth Anne Visnauskas, a deputy commissioner for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). “Having affordable housing for the firefighters, the teachers, the nurses — people who might not be at the lowest income levels but are still priced out of the market — is important."

A 2009 study by the Center for an Urban Future looked at the strain that housing costs were putting on middle class New Yorkers and argued that it was imperative for New York City to maintain a strong middle class.
432 units of middle-income housing on West 45th Street in Hell's Kitchen
"Middle class people are the ones who start small businesses, which employ many New Yorkers". 

The Bloomberg administration originally projected that 32 percent of the 165,000 units would be set aside for middle class New Yorkers. According to the IBO’s report, of the 124,400 that have been started so far, only 15 percent have been set aside for these groups. That amounts to about 18,600 units of affordable housing to date.
Mayor De Blasio’s Housing Plan—Housing New York: A Five Borough, Ten Year Plan

Mayor Bill De Blasio's plan: Housing New York:  A Five Borough, Ten Year Plan, is an ambitious plan to build and preserve 200,000 housing units, including 50,000 new affordable housing units.

For Whom? 

De Blasio's plan reduces the percent of units set aside for middle class New Yorkers by 10%

The plan is guided by eight principles, such as revamping the city’s planning and land use policies, establishing economic diversity as the cornerstone of housing development and strategically protect past investments in housing affordability.

These guiding principles will redefine many of the city’s housing programs and policies and can be seen in the more than the fifty initiatives in the plan

Here are a few highlights from the plan:
  • Propose the creation of a Task Force to explore legislative and administrative changes to simplify and rationalize the city’s tax programs while increasing their effectiveness in creating affordable housing.
  • Change zoning and land use regulations to promote housing creation through conversion of obsolete non-residential buildings and identification of opportunities for using Transferable Development Rights.
  • Create new incentives for properties that are not served by existing programs but are in danger of converting to condos or exiting rent regulations.
  • Define affordable housing as follows: Extremely Low Income (0-30% of AMI); Very Low Income (31-50% of AMI); Low Income (51-80% of AMI); Moderate Income (81-120% of AMI); Middle Income (121-165% of AMI).
  • Overall production goals of the plan: 60 percent preservation; 40 percent new construction.
  • Share of housing units preserved or created by income group:  Extremely Low income (8 percent); Very Low Income (12 percent); Low Income (58 percent); Moderate Income (11 percent); Middle Income (11 percent). 
A 2009 study by the Center for an Urban Future looked at the strain that housing costs were putting on middle class New Yorkers and argued that it was imperative for New York City to maintain a strong middle class

Mitchell-Lama buildings that were originally created for Middle Class New Yorkers are at the end of their regulatory agreements. They have been a big source of affordable housing in many neighborhoods.
While preserving the Mitchell -Lama stock helps with overall affordability goals, it doesn't create new options for moderate or middle class families and many Mitchell-Lama buildings have chosen to go market rate at the end of their term. 

The HPD has since revised its goals and plans to devote 22 percent of the housing to moderate and middle income New Yorkers. The IBO predicts that there will need to be a serious shift for the HPD to meet even these numbers.

Even meeting this reduced target will require a fairly significant change in the income mix of units started and in the next few years with a large uptick in the number of moderate units according to the report.

One programs that currently offers home ownership for middle and moderate income New Yorkers are HDFC coops  primarily re-sales that will allow maximum incomes of 120%- 165% of (AMI) Area Median Income.

Area Median Incomes:

According to the NY Times USA Map June 26, 2014 

The median income in Manhattan (New York, NY) is $68,370. 
In Brooklyn (Kings County) the median income is $45,215. 
In Queens the median income is  $56,789. 
In Staten Island (Richmond County) the median income is $73,496. 
In the Bronx the median income is $34,300. 
In Westchester County the median income is $81,093.
In Nassau County the median income is $97,049.
In  Suffolk County the median income is $87,778.


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