December 6, 2015
By Stephanie West, LaborPress NY
New York, NY — New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer has released a detailed analysis of the City’s proposed rezoning plan for East New York, finding that the ‘affordable’ housing created by the plan would be too expensive for 55 percent of neighborhood residents, and that the new market rate units would be beyond the reach of 84 percent of current residents.
The analysis of East New York, the first neighborhood where the City has assessed the potential impacts of rezoning, showed that the current rezoning plan would boost the number of housing units in the area by 51 percent, adding a total of 6,312 new apartments to the neighborhood. However just 1,724 of these would be affordable rental units available to existing neighborhood residents, and in certain circumstances that number could drop to low as 948 units. As a result, the plan threatens to displace many of the nearly 50,000 low-income tenants who today live in the area’s 21,788 units that are not protected by rent regulations. For generations, East New York has been overlooked and under-resourced by the City in schools, parks, public transit, and affordable housing,” Comptroller Stringer commented.
However, instead of strengthening the affordability of this community, the proposed rezoning would instead serve as an engine for displacement. The plan’s so-called affordable’ apartments would be too expensive for more than half of current residents, and the introduction of a large number of market rate units could push even more people out of the neighborhood.” The Comptroller’s analysis shows that the Area Median Income (AMI) in East New York today is $32,815. Using City and State metrics which define an affordable rent as 30 percent of income, to pay for the new “affordable” units projected in the new buildings, a family of three would have to earn at least $46,620 a year.
For that same family to move into a market-rate unit in that same new building, they would have to make upwards of $83,484 – more than double the current AMI in East New York. The City has estimated its plan will produce 3,447 affordable housing units in the neighborhood but only half of these units ,1,724,would be set aside for the neighborhood’s current residents. Obviously, the Mayors plan falls short of protecting the estimated 49,266 tenants currently living in the area’s 21,788 unprotected units. When it comes to urban planning, we need to do a better job of listening to existing communities, engaging residents, and considering the long term impact of rezoning on the people who have lived in our neighborhoods,” added Comptroller Stringer. “East New York is one of dozens of communities that have voiced their concern with the Mayor’s proposed rezoning plan.”