In his ten-year affordable housing plan, Mayor de Blasio has taken a great stride forward in addressing the city’s pressing need to expand affordable housing opportunities for low to middle income New Yorkers. The plan is comprehensive—it also outlines strategies to prevent homelessness and expand permanent housing options for those in city shelters, as well as stem the heavy loss of rent-regulated apartments through deregulation.
The $7 billion commitment of city capital to the effort is impressive. The state should feel challenged to make a comparable commitment to help expand the supply of affordable housing—the plan now projects the state contribution will be less than one-twentieth as much as the city contribution.
We urge the mayor and his team in the coming months to find ways to deepen the income targeting proposed in the plan, particularly for newly developed apartments. Under the de Blasio plan only 20 percent of the units would be accessible to New York families with the lowest incomes, up to $38,000 for a family of three, but families at that income level make up 73 percent of those paying more than 30 percent of their income for rent. They bear the highest rent burdens and, once rent is paid, have little left over to meet other basic needs.