Features, Finance, Law and Politics, Municipal Government, New York

NYC Affordable Housing Crisis for Those Most at Risk

December 7, 2018

By Neal Tepel

NEW YORK, NY — New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer has unveiled a report that establishes the true scope of New York City’s affordable housing crisis, and reveals that the City’s current plan is not reaching those most at risk.
NYC for All: The Housing We Need, finds that roughly 580,000 New York City households are in the greatest need of affordable housing.  These households – almost 90% of whom make less than $47,000 per year for a family of three – are paying over half of their incomes to rent, bunking in overcrowded apartments or have been living in homeless shelters for more than a year. Less than 25% of the City’s current affordable housing plan is being built for these New Yorkers.  Comptroller Stringer’s proposal connects the City’s housing policy to its rising homelessness.  The Comptroller is calling for the elimination of favorable tax treatment currently enjoyed by all-cash homebuyers and reducing unfair, outdated taxes on middle class New Yorkers who borrow to purchase a home.

“We are in the middle of a serious housing affordability crisis in this city and we cannot let a $2 million condo become the cost of entry.  This crisis is having the greatest effect on the people who are the backbone of New York City – like home health aides, childcare workers, taxi drivers, and so many others – and we’re failing them.  We have to face this crisis head on and build units for people with the greatest need.  This isn’t our first housing crisis, and in the past, the City put effective plans in place to meet those challenges – today we need real solutions to face the real need,” said Comptroller Stringer.  “Our proposal not only provides new units for some of the lowest income households and sets aside more housing for homeless families, it funds it through a new and progressive tax overhaul that makes it easier for middle class families to purchase a home.

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The report found that, while the City has enjoyed economic growth over the last decade, working New York families faced stagnant wages, insufficient new housing stock, and rising rents – leaving 580,000 households to face severe housing cost pressure.  The report estimates that of the 540,000 households paying more than half their incomes for rent, only 25%, or 75,000 of the total units under the current affordable housing plan, “Housing New York”, are directed towards this end of the economic spectrum. The current affordable housing plan is building nearly as many units for middle income families earning up to $155,000 per year as it is for extremely low income families earning less than $28,000 per year.

The City’s approach to affordable housing must increase housing for working families with extremely low income. This will prevent an expansion of homelessness in New York City.  One-third or 4,500 families with children living in long-term shelter, are working. This highlights the fact that many working families struggle to find affordable housing.

December 7, 2018

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