Despite the Mayor’s claim of creating large amounts of affordable housing since he took office, we have more homeless families in our shelter system than ever before with over 16,000 homeless children. (See Coalition for the Homeless charts.) Could the reason be that most displaced families cannot afford the so-called affordable housing that the city claims protects low-income residents?
“In Kings County, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,313. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities, without paying more than 30% of income on housing, a household must earn $4,377 monthly or $52,520 annually. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into a Hourly Wage of $25.25. ?In Kings County, a minimum-wage worker earns an hourly wage of $7.15. In order to afford the FMR for a two-bedroom apartment, a minimum wage earner must work 141 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or, a household must include 3.5 minimum wage earner(s) working 40 hours per week year-round in order to make the two bedroom FMR affordable.?In Kings County, the estimated mean (average) wage for a renter is $15.45 an hour. In order to afford the FMR for a two-bedroom apartment at this wage, a renter must work 65 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or, working 40 hours per week year-round, a household must include 1.6 worker(s) earning the mean renter wage in order to make the two-bedroom FMR affordable.”
“Monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments for an individual are $761 in Kings County. If SSI represents an individual’s sole source of income, $228 in monthly rent is affordable, while the FMR for a one-bedroom is $1,180.”
“The crisis of true Affordable Housing has to be looked at.”
—The National Low-Income Housing Coalition Wash DC 2010
We continue to lose affordable communities to bad planning and corporate greed.
Developments must be aimed at respecting the community it is being placed in, as far as height, bulk and density. I see so many so called affordable units that are not reachable by the majority of working poor residents in our community that face the greatest displacement pressures.
We see the loss of housing stock that was aimed to low and middle income residents being replaced with large buildings that are up to 80% Luxury development, or many times 100% luxury.
It’s important to focus on the luxury units which invariably change the economic demographics of less affluent communities and have the effect of forcing out the less affluent. New residents that move in have larger incomes putting pressures on local retail outlets to change the mix of amenities. Instead of hardware stores, affordable supermarkets and laundromats, the commercial core changes to noisier bars, expensive restaurants, boutique food markets and so on. Stores offering less expensive goods can no longer pay the cost per square foot of the gentrified neighborhood.
While some affordable units are built, there’s a larger net loss of affordable housing in the surrounding areas as real estate values (and rents) rise. With the loss of protections and enforcement of any meaningful rent regulation, surrounding neighborhoods are being torn apart.
We need to look to greatly increase the amount of true affordable housing in any proposed development.
And affordability should be realistic. Only 100 of the 2200 units proposed for the former Domino Sugar refinery are within the community AMI (Area Median Income). The current AMI for Brooklyn CB#1 is $35,300 dollars.
Even the 310 units of housing the developers for Domino are offering at $46,080 dollars are out of reach to over 60% of residents in Brooklyn CB#1.
Those who ignore the larger picture in order to create the illusion of working for affordable housing (some in the press, some tenant/housing groups and many politicians) should wear the yellow stripes of shame.
Still On Fire