How well is the program for Housing New York doing? Is it serving those most in need or fueling gentrification? A little bit of both is the verdict by our friends at the Independent Budget Office (IBO). They put their fiscal eye on 78,000 units financed under the plan from June 2014 through June 2017.   They compared income restrictions with the “typical” income of neighborhood residents. The findings are available as a portable document file (PDF) for distribution and as an HTML file for searches.

  1. Most of the housing is in lower-income neighborhoods. The typical neighborhood household qualifies in these places are very low or low-income housing using AMI income definitions.
  2. Very few units are in the city’s middle- and high-income neighborhoods.
  3. Just over half of the housing is where the typical household earns too much to qualify for the affordable housing located there and not eligible.
  4. A quarter of the units financed are in neighborhoods where the typical household does not earn enough to qualify for the housing.
  5. The remaining quarter percent are in neighborhoods where the typical household would meet the income-eligibility limits.
  6. Units reserved for the lowest incomes are predominantly located in neighborhoods of similar or slightly higher relative incomes.
  7. Moderate-income units are mostly located in relatively poorer neighborhoods, while most middle-income units are in the city’s highest-income neighborhoods.

The city manages the five income brackets of affordability. In this study, the 2016 median income of $60.500 is used.  Household eligibility begins for individuals at 1) “extremely low” at 30% or less than $19,050, 2) very low at 50% or $31,750 and not more than 3) low at 80% or $50,750.  Thereafter, the qualifying income goes up based on the number of people in the household. 

Moderate, and middle incomes are formulated based on the Department of City Planning’s Neighborhood Tabulation Areas to define neighborhoods around a Housing New York project and U.S. Census American Community Survey data to calculate the neighborhood’s typical household income.

IBO uses the Department of City Planning’s Neighborhood Tabulation Areas to define neighborhoods around a Housing New York project and U.S. Census American Community Survey data to calculate the neighborhood’s typical household income. For information on how locations across New York City impact construction costs of affordable housing, see IBO’s February 2016 report “The Impact of Prevailing Wage Requirements on Affordable Housing Construction Costs in New York City.”

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