(Un)Affordable Apartments

Check out the below post on the problem with 80/20 housing from our friends at Tenants & Neighbors

A good apartment is hard to find. As two recent stories documented, even those supposedly “affordable” units included in large developments are out of reach for the average New Yorker.

 Curbed pointed out that the “affordable” apartments in one new TriBeCa tower are only available for households with incomes ranging from $73,166 to $150,325. That would exclude the vast majority of renters, whose average income is about half the low end of this scale. “Affordable” rents in this building begin at over $2,000, nearly double the average rent per unit citywide.
Washington Mews Uptown a bit, The Daily News found that the promised “affordable” apartments in the Hudson Yards development have not materialized in the promised quantities, and those that have been built are tiny. They write:

Many of those units are tiny studios and one-bedrooms of 400 to 600 square feet — often far smaller than similar market-rate units in the same buildings. At one site, the twin 60-story SilverTowers on W. 42nd St. and 11th Ave., developer Larry Silverstein erected a separate 88-unit ‘affordable’ building at the back of his complex.

The towers boast spacious and luxurious lobbies and the biggest indoor pool in the city. The affordable building has a dark, tiny lobby that faces the back of an MTA bus depot and the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel.

Community Board 4, when they first rejected this plan, described this housing as “separate and unequal,” saying that it has “the look and feel [of] the maids’ quarters for the rest of the project.”
It’s important to keep this in mind when people point to subsidized housing- often in “80/20” packaging- as an alternative for those priced out of rent regulated housing. The apartments created through these incentives are no replacement for affordable, integrated rent stabilized housing.
At the preliminary vote, a landlord representative stated that rent regulated housing is not the “housing of last resort” for poor tenants. If they are priced out of rent regulated housing, they are clearly not going to find a home in these “affordable” apartments. Waiting lists are growing for public housing. Where, exactly, should tenants go if rising annual rent increases price them out of rent stabilized housing?
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One thought on “(Un)Affordable Apartments

  1. Congratulations on a great push-back blog – you make it clear that those “sunny” housing ads are really deceptive, claiming that there is plenty of “appropriate” housing available when what they offer is totally out of the price range of the targeted lower-income New Yorker . . . . Thanks for UHAB’s vigilant advocacy!!

    PS: those pop-up ads are kind of a pain! – really hard to get out of, if you decide to watch them . . . .

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