17 thoughts on “The Real Math of An Affordable Housing Lottery: Huge Disconnect Between Need and Allotment

  1. I hope you will all notice that the latest lottery for housing in NYC they have left out an entire group of single people who want one bedroom. They have not included single people who make between $ 38,101 through $49,337. Then they state that they have affordable housing for those who are single and make between $ 49,338 up to $ 104,775. I am sorry but if you make that kind of money you do not need or should have affordable housing. Can we remember those who make more than $38,101 and $ 49,337 do we not count in the City of New York?

  2. I agree with Bronx4310, I was in that situation for a long period of time and was one who “made too much money” for a single individual. I also want to address something Bronx4310 may have alluded to. Singles who do qualify are often steered to studio apartments and not one bedrooms. The main issue of affordability is hardly ever addressed by any article…..the affordability formula! Technically I’m paying 30% of my gross income for rent. But look at what happens when one has to put aside more money for retirement savings, or has to pay a debt (consumer credit, income tax, rent increase, etc..) you’re not paying 30% you’re paying 50% of your take home income for rent. Not to pile on but many workers have to forego working overtime knowing this has an effect on making their rent increase at re-certification, the next year. Every contract year (approximately every 4 to 5 years) we get a raise which also spikes up the rent for that year and then of course goes down again the next year when retro-active pay is not included. Even without overtime, consumer credit debt, benefit deductions, I’m paying 50% of my income for rent. This is why affordable housing is not affordable for people who work for the city and the state. It’s an open secret that many city and state workers either make too much money as singles or like me have to use a whole paycheck to pay rent. The affordability formula has to be re-worked.

    • Exactly, affordable housing is 30% of your take home pay, not your gross income. 30% of your gross works out to almost 50% of your take home. Do you actually believe the 1% and politians don’t know this? The system is rigged against us. Affordable housing in New York is not designed for the middle class, hence putting most of the “affordable” apartments in this tier where you pay 50% of your net pay. Tax breaks for these properties benefit the construction companies, keep the middle class struggling.

  3. Director of NY Communities for Change is a shrill of an organization where their landlord is Forest Ratner. What the seem to forget is many of these building are not affordable due to the lack of oversight by HPD, the Buildings Dept when it comes to all the construction defects many of these new buildings have. Look at the Tolan, look at Shaeffer Landing, look at ps90, Madison Park, the Sutton, the Langston coops/condos and you will find scaffolding around these fairly new buildings.

  4. The bands I see are for 50% below AMI, and 130% above the AMI. I rarely see any affordable units go into the band between those two numbers. Furthermore, as a single parent, I need a two bedroom apartment, not a one bedroom. It does not distinguish between two people (two people in a romantic partnership) and others. I guess, I’m supposed to sleep in the living room while my kid has a bedroom? Even if I were ok with a one bedroom, on the rare times I qualify the expected rent is usually more than 50% of my income. I don’t understand why that is considered “affordable.”

  5. Hi, Having a hard time wrapping my brain around the various income bands or tiers? Is there a key for this? Is Band 3 upper or middle income?

    • Hi Marc, Band 3 for 535 Carlton is low to moderate income. For a household of four, for example, that ranges up to around $92,000 annual income for the NYC region.

      • Ben,
        Great research and data parsing. Thank you.
        So is the band mentioned in the article as eligible for 1-bedrooms at $2170 then Band 4?

  6. Hi All,

    Can someone clarify the authors last paragraph please?

    “But one 535 Carlton aspirant, commenting on a message board, called it “unfair” that middle-income households “have 3-4 times a greater chance of getting apartments” than moderate-income ones, based on units available. Actually, as the lottery analysis shows, the chances of winning an apartment were far higher”

    Is he saying that moderate incomes/band 3, actually have more of a chance of winning an apartment?

    How does that work when there are only 6/7 units typically designated to people who earn between $40K and $60K?

    Would really appreciate the clarity. – Thanks

    • Sarah, to clarify, the 535 Carlton aspirant was complaining that there were more units available for middle-income households, who earn more money than moderate income ones.

      That suggested that, if the same number of middle-income households applied as moderate-income households applied, the middle-income households would have a better chance.

      However, far fewer middle-income households responded to the lottery.

      So, not only were there more units available for them, the chances of winning among those respondents was far greater than for moderate-income households entering the lottery.

      Hope that makes sense.

      Norman Oder (article author)

  7. I was called for the American Copper Building, I literally cried for hours of happiness. Until I see they have me down under a different salary. I got a slight raise now I can’t qualify. I really don’t understand how they want people to make 43 or 45K for 2 bedrooms and pay over 1000. A lot of people making 43 or 45K will be burdened paying around 1100-1300. I make 49 and squeeze to pay 1100. But I would pay it if I got into one of these buildings. The requirements have to be fair and go higher. I don’t even have a place to live and therefore should atleast have a shot at affordable housing, but Nope. I mean Homeless is up 40%….this is 1 of the reasons why.

    • Hello Jennifer:
      I’m sorry to hear that happened, I’ve been disqualified 3 times already. It’s depressing really. May I ask about your experience during the process for the American Copper? I have a friend who just got called for an interview and he doesn’t know if he should go or not since he doesn’t know if they’ll give him a studio or one bedroom. Plus, they won’t allow him to see the apartment before he signs the lease if qualified and approved. Any info would be appreciated. Any info on credit qualification? Did they tell you what the credit bracket looks like? Thanks! Would really appreciate it!

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