(WASHINGTON POST) Emily Badger — The shortage of affordable housing in New York City has become a problem of epic proportions. As of 2012, more than half of all renter households in the city were swamped by housing costs consuming more than 30 percent of their income. Another 60,000 New Yorkers now sleep in homeless shelters. The middle-class are crunched, too, with even families on solid incomes afraid to leave public housing.
The building industry, meanwhile, has been on a tear that seems entirely disconnected from these trends, constructing one luxury condo with white-gloved doormen after the next.
Affordable housing has become, says Carl Weisbrod, the director of New York’s Department of City Planning, “the crisis of our time in the city.”
Accordingly, officials plan in September to push dramatic changes to how new housing gets built, requiring many developers to incorporate into their projects a substantial number of affordable units. Planning a 60-story luxe apartment in East Harlem? Developers would have to put some affordable housing in there. A new mixed-use loft in Brooklyn? There too.
Under the proposal, which will be introduced in the city council next month, developers seeking to build in parts of the city that will be rezoned will have to set aside 25 percent of a building’s housing units for households making below 60 percent of the median income in the area. Conversely, they can set aside 30 percent of units for families below 80 percent of the median.