Affordable housing plan’s impact on UES


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Mapping the mayor’s Housing New York initiative


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  • Since 2014, the city has financed over 77,000 units of affordable housing through the mayor’s Housing New York initiative. Photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photo Office




Housing New York, an ambitious ten-year plan to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing across the city, has been a centerpiece of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s policy agenda during his first term.

Since de Blasio took office in January 2014, the city has financed over 77,000 units under the plan, which will cost a projected $41.4 billion. Nearly 24,000 of those units are in Manhattan, 4,935 of which are new construction and 18,927 are preserved units. According to the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, housing is considered affordable when a household spends no more than 30 percent of its income on rent.

Housing New York aims to preserve or create affordable housing for households falling into various qualifying income categories. The income categories, which range from “extremely low income” to “middle income,” are based on household income as a percentage of the region’s Area Median Income (AMI), as defined annually U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Households classified as “low income” (those earning 50 to 80 percent of AMI; or between $47,701 and $76,320 for a four-person family in 2017) are the most heavily targeted of the income bands, accounting for a planned 58 percent of all units. Under the plan’s targets, 40 percent of the 200,000 affordable units will be new construction. The remaining 60 percent will be affordable units preserved through various strategies, including building improvements, subsidy extensions, and protecting tenants in rent-regulated units.

While de Blasio has touted Housing New York as a success as he seeks reelection this fall, some critics claim that the program fails to serve those most in need of assistance. According to the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development, New Yorkers classified as “extremely low income” (those making below 30 percent of the AMI) make up 47.9 percent of Manhattan’s rent-burdened population, but just 12.6 percent of affordable housing units created or preserved to date under the mayor’s program have served this group.

The Citizens Budget Commission, using data from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, has assembled a map of projects financed to date through the program. The chart and map here, drawn from the CBC’s analysis, show the program’s impact on the Upper East Side. Community District 8, which covers the Upper East Side from 59th to 96th Streets and Roosevelt Island, has had the second-fewest affordable units financed under the program of any Manhattan community district.







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