Photo via Wiki Commons
Despite making affordable housing a policy priority, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan falls short for the poorest New Yorkers, a new study says. The report, released by the Real Affordability for All (RAFA) coalition last week, says low- and moderate-income households across the city face a worsening affordability crisis (h/t DNAinfo). Although the city’s lowest earners experience the largest gap between incomes and housing costs, de Blasio’s affordable housing plan, which aims to develop or preserve 200,000 affordable units over 10 years, sets aside more units for middle-income households than low-income ones.
Over the past four years, the de Blasio administration has created or preserved more than 77,650 units of housing, inching its way toward the city’s goal of 200,000 total units. But according to RAFA’s report, only 14 percent, or 11,000 units, has been set aside for households earning about $25, 770 for a family of three. RAFA writes, “Despite the self-congratulatory press conferences announcing progress toward the 200,000 goal, his plan does not include nearly enough apartments at the lower income tiers–where the affordability crisis is most acute and most painful.”
With de Blasio handily winning the mayoral Democratic primary and expected to be re-elected in November, RAFA says the mayor’s second term needs to focus on dramatically overhauling his housing policies or “more low-income and moderate-income New Yorkers may be pushed out of the city entirely.”
The report criticizes the city’s plan for Crown Height’s Bedford Union Armory to be used for 386 units of luxury housing with just 18 units deemed affordable, for a family of three making $34,000. An additional 49 units will be set aside for families earning just above the area’s median income, at about $43,000 per year. De Blasio’s housing plan has set aside 49 percent of total units that fall in the 51 percent to 81 percent of the area median income bracket, which translates roughly to $42,000 to $68,000 for a family of three.
RAFA’s report details a list of requests, including creating more affordable units for low- and moderate-income brackets. Notably, the report says nearly the same amount of units have been created for families earning $103,081 to $141,735 for a family of three as there has been for families earning less than 30 percent of the AMI, or $25,770 for a family of three. According to the group, this has fueled the homelessness crisis in the city.
Another demand calls for de Blasio to fire deputy mayor Alicia Glen. The group writes that Glen has “put the financial interests of a handful developers she worked with closely at Goldman Sachs far ahead of what struggling New Yorkers.”
In response to the report, City Hall spokesperson Melissa Grace highlighted the many legislative actions taken by City Hall to protect low-income New Yorkers and renters. “[It] overlooks what the city is actually doing: Building and protecting an unprecedented amount of affordable housing for the very poorest, providing universal access to free lawyers for tenants who are harassed, sending bad landlords to prison, and winning the first two rent freezes in city history,” Grace said. “We stand by our record — and add to it daily.”
Read RAFA’s full report, which was endorsed by 10 advocate groups, here.
- Affordable housing lotteries fail low-income residents and favor middle-income earners, says new report
- The city added 24,293 affordable housing units this fiscal year, the most since 1989
- Map shows how many years of life a house costs, and in NYC the numbers aren’t pretty
- Crown Heights’ controversial homeless shelter development opens lotto for 33 low-income units