Curbed just published a sobering look at “affordable” housing and how it relates to the local communities where they are constructed in terms of actual affordability.
Their findings are not surprising to us or activists who have for years asked, “Affordable for who?” due to the very fact that these units are rarely affordable to local residents due to the misleading AMI, or Area Median Income used to calculate the median income of an area which is generally considerably higher than what the actual local median income is in these neighborhoods.
Curbed performed an outstanding analysis of the situation by breaking it down from single-person households to five-person households and does it for each affordable housing development that has been preserved or constructed under New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (or 87,557 units if you’re counting).
They did so in response to the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s map which shows all those units constructed or preserved thusfar but have left all of us asking and wondering, “Affordable for who?”.
It should come to no surprise that under each category, the picture painted for The Bronx was quite grim but single person households were the worst off with an overall 62% of units unaffordable to the average city resident.
Things got significantly better as the size of household increases but still leaves out a large segment of the population.
Housing activists, however, have criticized the Housing New York plan for not creating enough homes for those who most need it. The Community Service Society released a report last September that says the Housing New York plan may actually be “further entrenching segregation” through its focus on development in low income communities, where locals are at risk of displacement and affordable units are often out of reach.
Despite the city’s focus on low income neighborhoods, only 15 percent of Housing New York units—13,276 units to date—serve the extremely low income band; citywide, 516,000 of those households are rent burdened. And data shows that about 81 percent of Housing New York’s units to date are located in low-income communities, where the median income of one-person households is below 80 percent AMI.
See Curbed’s complete analysis on the situation: How New York’s affordable apartments compare to neighborhood incomes