Second, the flier requires footnotes. The statement that "50% of the rental units will be set aside for middle- and low-income families" papers over the actual affordability of the units.
Actually, only 900 (40%) of 2250 affordable rentals would go to families with an annual household income of $35,450 or lower. And 900 of the affordable rentals would rent for more than $2000 a month
550 in Phase 1
And the statement that "affordable housing will be built in both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the development" lacks specifics. As the City Planning Commission said in a letter last week, "at least 30% of the units built in Phase 1 (approximately 550 units) will be affordable."
If Phase 1 takes four years, as planned, that means 137.5 affordable units a year, including 55 units a year for families at or below Brooklyn's median household income. And there's no assurance that Phase 2 would be built, since it depends on market conditions and other factors.
Decoding the flier
The copy in the flier--about the difficulty of living in Brooklyn--taps into a legitimate concern. The choice to feature minorities in the brochure misleadingly suggests that this is mainly a project to assist them.
If Forest City Ratner really cared about affordable housing--rather than advancing a project that could bring a billion dollars in profits--the developer would have taken advantage of several opportunities to inform the public of the effort to reform the city's 421-a tax break, which subsidizes much market-rate construction without requiring any affordable units. It hasn't.