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An incremental change pointing to more affordable housing for the poorest cohort

Mayor Bill de Blasio has made an incremental change to focus affordable housing where the need is greatest, but he can only do so much.

In Mayor revamps housing plan to appeal to more low-income New Yorkers, 7/24/17, Sally Goldenberg explained:
With an extra $1.9 billion in capital funds and a series of new rules for developers receiving city subsidies, the administration has quietly revamped a program central to de Blasio's agenda. The changes come after two years of persistent criticism that the 10-year plan to create and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing didn't adequately serve the city's poor — a complaint amplified in communities that enthusiastically swept him into office four years ago.
Administration officials argue their reforms were not driven by boisterous activists....
They say the plan evolved after developers showed a willingness to build rentals for the most impoverished renters, and advocates were never consulted.
What does that mean? Instead of 40,000 units over ten years for the poorest cohort, now the goal is 50,000. That also means 39,000, rather than 44,000 apartments for moderate and middle-income residents--3,000 fewer for middle-income households (like much of 535 Carlton) and 2,000 fewer for moderate-income ones.


The bigger picture

Jonathan Westin of New York Communities for Change, which has been criticizing the housing plan (but who once praised 535 Carlton) called it "too little too late."

Indeed, as Politico's Brendan Cheney wrote last year, in a 7/27/16 article headlined De Blasio housing plan shapes up as historic-scale 'trade-off', "the mayor's ambitious housing plan won't have a meaningful impact for most of the city's most severely rent-burdened residents." It's just too expensive:
In New York City 379,000 of the poorest households were severely rent burdened in 2014, paying more than 50 percent of their rent, according to Housing and Vacancy Survey data compiled by the Citizens Budget Commission. The de Blasio housing plan provides 40,000 apartments to this income group.
That would now be 50,000.

There's a trade-off, however, Cheney wrote, between more apartments and more affordability. The evidence this week is there is some wiggle room, just not a lot. The city needs a half-million more affordable units, as then City Planning Commissioner Carl Weisbrod said at the time, and the region needs to help.

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