30 Issues in 30 Days: Affordable Housing

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sarah Ludwig, co-director of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP), talks about the scope of foreclosures in low income areas of New York City.

Howard Husock, vice president for policy research at the Manhattan Institute and Ellen Seidman, New America Foundation’s Director of Financial Services Policy and Asset Building Program, discuss the federal government’s role in providing affordable housing and promoting home ownership.

Shaun Donovan, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), works to expand affordable housing in New York.


Shaun Donovan, Howard Husock, Sarah Ludwig and Ellen Seidman

Comments [55]

Sue Susman from Manhattan

However admirable Sean Donovan is, I was surprised that Brian did not question him on the fact that Bloomberg and Donovan's efforts to build affordable housing in NYC are like treading water in Niagara Falls: Given the flood of apartments being removed from affordability (including Mitchell-Lamas, Project-based Section 8 buildings, and many rent stabilized apartments), the Community Service Society reports a net loss in the city's affordable housing stock.

Oct. 16 2008 03:59 PM
Jennifer from Manhattan

In 2002, I moved into a condo in Harlem that I purchased through a lottery for working and middle income New Yorkers. The condo was developed as affordable housing and my neighbors and I purchased at prices that were slightly below market. Unfortunately, the developer performed substandard work and we've since spent tens of thousands of dollars in repairs and legal fees. Right now, my neighbors and I are trying to obtain roof repairs which will be very, very expensive. I applaud the city's efforts to develop affordable housing. However, I'm not so sure that my condo fits that description.

Oct. 16 2008 02:33 PM

Housing is way overpriced for the new "flat" world. Prices must be allowed to fall so that the youngest and least-well paid can afford to rent/buy and raise the next generations. In order for businesses to be able to train and hire the young at low competitive cost, there must be affordable housing as well as free health care and education. In order for our defense department to be able to enlist effective manpower, the young must be healthy and well educated. Continued maintainance of our economy and our defense must be our priorities; there are no shortcuts.

Oct. 16 2008 12:31 PM
Steve Lazer from New Jersey

51 - cont'd

So this Wall Street process caused the lenders to give out money to anyone, even people with no chance of paying it back.

And now, of course, those people who are defaulting.

Oct. 16 2008 12:20 PM
Steve Lazer from New Jersey

Beatrice [49],

I don't know what Obama may or may not have been clamoring for, but it was Wall Street and their profit motive that made this mess. The profits they made on mortgage securitization were astronomical, and this is what actually caused the problem.

Oct. 16 2008 12:16 PM
JWG from NYC

@47 - read this artical from the NYTimes from 1999.

Paragraph 7 is the kicker. This is not a McCain talking point. It is essential to understand one of the root causes for this mess.

Please note I say ONE of the root causes. The secondary cause is what you mention - that to try to offset the risks from subprime mortgages (which were being created and backed by Freddy and Fannie) the bankers tried to create instruments that spread the risk, and in the process created instruments that obscured the risk and the value. And the rest of Wall Street followed along without understanding the risks - the effects of which we are seeing starkly as these banks etc. fail.

Oct. 16 2008 12:11 PM
Beatrice from Bronx

48, not entirely. Sure the leverage the street put on these loans are a disaster, but the base of the problem is that the loans are now bad because people are not paying what they agreed to. And on that note, more people are going late on their mortgages simply because they think the government will now bail them out. Obama was among many who were clamoring of access to mortgages for people with marginal credit. how quickly we forget.

Oct. 16 2008 12:09 PM
Steve Lazer from New Jersey

JWG [43]

Nice try to tie the housing bust to Obama, when it was Wall Street's "genius" in securitization of mortgages that caused these problems by removing the vested interest of banks or brokers to limit loans to people who were actually qualified.

Oct. 16 2008 12:05 PM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

#43--Fighting racism got us into this? Hardly. And mot of those "underwater" are not minorities. Those with lower incomes are among the first to go under completely.

Repub talking point--which McCain used at the debate, saying Freddie and Fannie were responsible for this Big $h*t Pile, leading to the Big Me$$.

Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. It was the derivatives and funny money financial instruments. The vaporware of the Merry Banksters. Made lots of money for a few--and has created...well, at this point we don't know for sure just how bad a thing has been created.

Oct. 16 2008 12:04 PM
O from Forest Hills


That is where we differ,

I seek a change from Raganomics on Steroids for the past 30 years and 30 years of rule by conservative/neo-cons/ and republicans. I do not seek a Utopia.

I seek the expertise of a Harvard educated man such as Obama whom is a "community organizer" that taught constitutional law, has class, knows how to organize and get the job done.

I want a vision and future and someone whom knows how to read the Constitution and understands law and that is Obama.

Not McCainn, whom graduated 894 of a class of 899 from WestPoint. McCainn doesn't know the three main ethnic groups of Iraq. He wants war for 100 years in Iraq. palin is not aware of what the bush doctrine is. (I am using lower case to show my disgust with bush).

Palin can see alaska from her window and we are in the last days so she wants to have nuclear war.

How about how Cindy is addicted to pain killers and stole from her charity to get pain killers. If Michelle Obama did that, we would never hear the end.

Palin is bush with lipstick.

I want real leadership and that is Biden and Obama.

Not 4 more years of bush policies and raganomics on steroids.

Oct. 16 2008 12:02 PM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

I'm having trouble reconciling Obama's campaign, public statements about helping people with their problems--and what he said to his fundraisers on Saturday, which was reported at the Huffington Post:

Quote from article:

As 250 major donors ate beet salad and mahi-mahi under a huge tent, Obama seemed to look ahead to his first term as president.

"We're going to have to make some priorities, **we're going to have to cut some things out,"** he said, referring to expensive goals such as **improving health care, schools and college affordability**.

***"I'm going to be in some fights with my own Democratic Party in getting some of that done,"*** he said.

I would have highlighted the things which Obama said he will have to cut out if the site allowed it--healthcare and education stuff--because at the debate he said those are things he will implement.

What's up, Senator?

Oct. 16 2008 11:59 AM
Steve Lazer from New Jersey

O [40}
" People foreclose and are in the street and that is their problem..."

They are not in 'the street', they just have to rent like me and millions of others do.

Oct. 16 2008 11:57 AM
JWG from NYC


Enjoy your trip - I'll wave as you all pass by on the way over a cliff. I'll feel sorry for you, and I will not gloat. I feel pity for all of the idealists who got us into the mess by crying racism at banks who didn't lend to people who did not have good credit (who happen to be mostly people of color - work on educating people how to be responsible and save and build credit) and changed the lending rules. This was a noble idea, but too often noble ideas become cost-prohibitive the closer they get to reality. Fanny and Freddie did change their standards, they did create a market for these sub-standard loans, and, because of their government backed appearance, they led the markets. We are in this mess because of people like Barak Obama who, as a community organizer, pushed for these destabilizing policies and resisted any warnings to change. And now they claim it was not their fault, that it was greed and Wall Street. And you want more of the same? You want people who have no accountability to run every aspect of your life? You want bureaucrats deciding what you can and cannot have? You complain of one type of government and think another will be better? Look at the history of Europe, beyond the fantasy that the USA could be a Denmark, and you will see the utter failure of collectivism and socialism. I wish we could have a Utopia, but I see the reality of how people work – especially when they have so much control over other people.

Oct. 16 2008 11:56 AM
Beatrice from Bronx

I cant wait to see what all this talk about forcing banks to renegotiate loans will do to the rest of us who were responsible. I can assure you it will mean higher cost and less availability for mortgages. Why would anyone in their right minds give a loan to anyone like a first time buyer or someone who doesn't have a perfect credit score when the government can step in a reneg the contract? The laws of unintended consequences will rear its head yet again on this issue as it has on many liberal issues (of which I once agreed with, but with age and experience no longer do.)

Oct. 16 2008 11:55 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Anyone here read Atrios at his Eschaton blog?

At one time, quite awhile ago, he pointed out that when the bulk of housing is far, far above the ability of the median income earners to purchase, there's going to trouble. With a capital "T." Right here in River City.

Trouble, oh we got trouble,
Right here in River City!
With a capital "T"
That rhymes with "P"
And that stands for Pool,
That stands for pool.
We've surely got trouble!
Right here in River City,
Right here!

That's "pool" as in pooled mortgages sliced, dices, pureed, sold over and over and over. With CDS's a the topper. All that weight on the point of the upside down pyramid. Ya got Trouble!

Oct. 16 2008 11:50 AM
O from Forest Hills

31, Mary,

Yes, buy the foreclosed homes with your tax dollars.

The government's job is to use taxes to generate revenue to function.

I love the lack of compassion the credit crisis and recession are bringing out and the you're on your own charlie mindset. People foreclose and are in the street and that is their problem but the government can bail out Wall Street so that the $300k toddler can run around in designer labels and drop his diapers out the windows of the pent house on the working class and poor after their two hour commute to work as his servant.

Time for Obama and change and LEADERSHIP!

Oct. 16 2008 11:47 AM
Steve Lazer from New Jersey

What does "stabilizing housing prices" have to do with affordable housing? That just means trying to keep home prices high after a speculative bubble, and that does nothing to make housing affordable. Leave the market alone - the market is forcing home prices downwards right now(which promotes affordable housing)and so called "stabilizing" means keeping the prices high & unaffordable.

Oct. 16 2008 11:46 AM
Phoebe from NJ

@30 O: You could always live in Denmark? I immigrated to the US from Europe, and take the positives and negatives. There are problems in all countries, and we should all strive to improve the country we live in. However, to impose a sea-change of collectivism is moving against the Amercian spirit and is a pipe-dream. BTW you'll find Denmark doesn't have affordable housing either, above the US Federal Housing. Nowhere in Europe does. Although the lack of guns and difference in culture means the social housing is less violent.

Oct. 16 2008 11:45 AM
Kevin Mac from merrick

Obama is much too naive on this issue. Very complicated, major legislation is needed to be revamped and we need to go back to old school lending practices. Frank/Dodd are responsible for most of this mess.

Oct. 16 2008 11:44 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Part 3--

Part 3--

Lots of sad stories this way.

The Clinton proposals, and McCain's if, as a McCain aide said, it is based on Hillary's plan, at least offers dignity to those "underwater." Hers may save more houses, more homes, more neighborhood.

I also believe that if the wrongdoers in the mortgage sales business and also in the derivatives/slicedanddice "financial instruments" are not investigated and brought to justice, this will happen again. This is not the economic "moral hazard"; this is real moral delinquency, perhaps crimiinality.

QUESTION: Does going into foreclosure trigger bankruptcy? Which is now very difficult and expensive for individuals, due to the bill Biden supported and pushed and which finally passed under the Dem Congress?? Isn't one of the reasons people take the "jingle mail" approach is to avoid bankruptcy?

Oct. 16 2008 11:44 AM
ian from BROOKLYN

I am telling you guys, listen tn 93.5fm and 1ST Republic Mortgage bankers. For years they been duping renters and homeomwers based on emotion.

Oct. 16 2008 11:44 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Part 2--

(FDR's HOLC worked well, and also, since evaluating individual mortgages creates by its nature one-on-one situations, the HOLC employed 20,000 people. So, it's also a jobs program--all to the good for what's coming to this economy.)

Now, the problem I see with Obama's solution is that it requires people to get into foreclosure, which means they're at the end of their rope. In Cleveland recently, a man was in foreclosure court trying to get a 10 day extension, the sheriff's cops were parked across the street from the house ready to effect the foreclosure, and, inside, an increasingly distraught woman, the man's wife, late in the day, perhaps thinking her husband had been turned down, shot herself to death. No happy ending as with the 90-year-old woman.... (And I fully understand these are only two examples, with extreme outcomes, but, still, OMG. In other cases, marriages break up (just saw that on my block), alcohal and other self-medications increase, illness increases.)

Many people will just get out while they have enough funds to hire movers, to ensure they have a place to sleep and put whatever they can salvage of their possessions. Jingle mail.

Housing stock will deteriorate, creating blight in formerly good neighborhoods.

Lots of sad stories this way.


Oct. 16 2008 11:43 AM
O from Forest Hills


You have to look at the source of why we got into this mess to see what direction to go from here.

This time it is black and white, no pun intended, the answer is Obama. There is no grey here, looking at the spectrum of black and white with lots of grey shades inbetween. The answer is simple. McCainn is the wrong end of the spectrum. Obama is the right end.

When he takes office in January, he will have the mess bush left to contend with, but he will be the next FDR and JFK combined. Obama will take us in the right direction.

Get on the train of progress or sit in the station and pout. I'm getting on the train.

Oct. 16 2008 11:43 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

The guest, Sarah Ludwig, seems to have said that the housing problem (meaning its effect on the whole Big Me$$) can be handled best by allowing people to get into foreclosure, then go to court to have a (Federal? Local?) judge look at the situation, and, if feasible, force the loan holder to accept new terms which permit the mortgage holder to stay in the house. There will be widely varying standards brought to bear, I would imagine, in different localities and even among the judges. What a mess. From the Big Me$$. It will also extend the length of time until housing prices find their actual value.

This is also something Obama recommended, in opposition to Sen. Clinton's proposal of a 21st Century HOLC, which she calls HOME, and in opposition to Sen. McCain's proposal--whatever it actually is.


Oct. 16 2008 11:42 AM
Mary from NY

BUY the (foreclosing) homes with my tax dollars? NO. Make the payments affordable by backing in the affordable number, then extend the term of the mortgage to 99 years if necessary. Does that mean they will never own the home? No. No pre-payment penalties.

Oct. 16 2008 11:41 AM
O from Forest Hills


Yes, absolutely. I will trade these chains for the handcuffs of universal health care, affordable housing, more government involvement to be more like Denmark where everyone has affordable health care, education and can afford housing.

I accept the chains of collectivism, as you like to put it. Sign me up, I'll be first in line. You can handcuff me.

Oct. 16 2008 11:39 AM
Phoebe from NJ

@20 O; I agree with you on healthcare. There needs to be an agreed minimum standard for the greater good of the country, so there will be discussions over availability new developments in medicine and some non-urgent elective procedures. But the current situation in the US is diabolical.

Oct. 16 2008 11:39 AM
Ann C from westchester

Either houses should be more affordable or jobs need to pay enough to allow most people to own houses if they want them. Anything else is immoral.

Oct. 16 2008 11:38 AM
JWG from NYC


For all of your socialist rhetoric, it seems to me you are saying the market for expensive apartments is going to dry up, since all of the high paying jobs have moved elsewhere. In other words, you are giving a capitalist argument – you just want to speed up the process. You may be right that all the jobs are leaving the US and we are all going to end up in service jobs (though servicing who? There has to be someone who is producing or at least making more money and will pay for ‘service’), but right now there are plenty of people who can afford high prices and are willing to pay them. If those jobs disappear, then prices will have to come down and you will have your wish.
I don’t think this discussion is the place to discuss whether or not there is economic “oppression” and if there is what is the source.

Oct. 16 2008 11:38 AM
Jennifer K from Queens

Wait a second while I stop my head from spinning. People were given access to cheap credit and are now complaining about (after years of complaining they couldn't get it). That's like me offering free food to everyone and some people eating until they burst their stomachs and blaming the person providing the food.
Kate, I agree with you, enough of everyone playing the victim. I personally know of many people taking out these adjustable loans who said I'll be out of the home with a nice profit before the mortgage readjusts. I had the opportunity to get in on the game, but felt the market was out of control and continued to rent. Now I am supposed to somehow pay for these failures?

Oct. 16 2008 11:38 AM
Phoebe from NJ

@20 O; I want to live on the 50th floor with a great view, or maybe on the beach. Is that my right?

Oct. 16 2008 11:36 AM
Ann C from westchester

My parents never owned a house and what a disaster that was when they both got old and needed care. Besides having no place for the in-home aide they needed to stay and having to depend on the landlord being a good guy and keeping things fixed and in working order, heat on...whatever. When they needed long-term care Medicaid took every dollar they had---wouldn't have happened if their wealth had been in a house. Not owning a home made them even more vulnerable then they were and far, far poorer.

Question: It seems that its out of control house prices that led to people having to take outrageous loans if they ever wanted a house. The inflated house prices pushed them out of reach for everybody except the highest-paid people. Instead of stepping on the American Dream for millions of people, how about making it hard for all the ugly things that caused house prices to triple in our area and elsewhere to happen again.

Oct. 16 2008 11:35 AM
Phoebe from NJ

@23: For a very short, enlightening read try Martin Amis' "Koba The Dread".

Oct. 16 2008 11:34 AM
Phoebe from NJ

@15 O; So if my salary is higher, through education or additional work, then the proportion of my income spent on housing in NYC should be significantly higher than that of someone earing <$50k? Then what is the point in education, overtime, continuous learning etc.?

If Manhattan needs workers, and they are driven away from the city due to pricing of accomodation, then the market will need to correct their pay. It is not the Government's job to spend taxpayer dollars on this.

Oct. 16 2008 11:33 AM
Laura from Manhattan

Affordable Housing.

What ever happened to the standard American household budget?

When I was growing up in the 1950s-60s we were taught in school that the normal budget for housing = 25% of your income.

In the 1970s-80s I read articles that nudged that number up to 30%.

Oct. 16 2008 11:32 AM
O from Forest Hills


people most certainly do have the right to live in a place. It's called Fair Housing. With the racisim in this county, the discrimination has taken on the form of pricing people out of the neighborhoods with prices too high to "keep the trash out."

People have the right to live where they want just as they have the right to health care which we will discuss tomorrow. You don't have to agree with me.

Why do you think you should have to suffer an hour and a half commute because of corporate greed and excessive wealth?

and yes, i am a socialist.

Oct. 16 2008 11:32 AM
Kate from Brooklyn

O, assuming everything you say is correct, then prices will adjust accordingly. People played the housing is going to the moon game and are now losing, prices are coming down, as long as the government doesn't get involved in subsidizing and propping up prices everyone who was responsible during the past few years will enjoy lower prices and everyone who played lotto with their home will suffer. I think this is quite fair.

Oct. 16 2008 11:32 AM
Laura from Manhattan

The American Dream = To Own Your Own Business.
To be your own boss.

So says a friend who grew up in the 1930s.

Oct. 16 2008 11:30 AM
Phoebe from NJ

@14: And then the distribution of property will be according to favors to those who hold the keys... So instead of the alleged Wall St. millionaries, the apartments and villas of the ruling class will be unfairly distributed to party members.

There is no right to live in NYC. There's a reason I don't live there, though I would love to. @6 and @12 summarize this well.

Oct. 16 2008 11:29 AM
Matthew E. from Brooklyn

I am an independent but conservatives have a good point with the legislative branch and organizations like NEDAP and HPD having responsibility for what's going on as well. In their zeal to expand homeownership they lowered standards for buyers; now that the music stopped and reality is setting in they want to have bankruptcy judges re-write mortgages so that people can continue to own something they could never afford in the first place. That is unfair. I am a 1st time homebuyer and frankly I feel like I am one of the ones most "screwed" in this mess. Prices were driven up by these people buying out of their range; and now I'm asked to pay my tax dollars to keep them in their homes. How's about giving the money instead to people like me who have been responsible with my spending and credit? I feel like I and people like me are getting hit twice.

Oct. 16 2008 11:28 AM
O from Forest Hills


We need to make Manhattan affordable because all the good jobs are being outsourced, we do not have health insurance. The market is being flooded with too many workers, the jobs keep leaving, so what is left is service industry, retail or jobs making less than $50k. That is in the process of being changed. For now we have to work with what is going on.

People are not making the big bucks. The housing has to adjust to the reality of life. People that make less than $50K are being punished for the corporate greed and the greed of millionaires.

perhaps you are blessed with a high salary and all is well. That is great and I hope you do well. Not everyone is doing as well. I went to college and am making peanuts as are many of my friends whom just graduated law school. All of the NAFTA and outsourcing is producing too many lawyers in America and no jobs so they are stuck making $17 an hour. That is no fault of their own. The conservative model of laissez faire and trickle down theory of economics by cutting taxes on the wealthy, deregulation of the banking industry, corporations not paying taxes, they are leaving the US and doing the "global economy" thing.

You are most certainly entitled to your opinion, the rest of us refuse to live under the conservative/republican/Rageanomics on steroids thumb of oppression any longer.

Oct. 16 2008 11:27 AM
Inquiring Minds

"The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property."
- Karl Marx

...seems strangely appropriate to quote Marx these days, given some of the sentiments expressed above.

Oct. 16 2008 11:22 AM
JWG from NYC


Why do we NEED to make Manhattan affordable for everyone? If people like an area as a place to live, and are willing to pay more for it, then it will be more expensive. No one is forcing anyone to live in Manhattan, much less to pay those prices for apartments. I live over an hour and a half commute from Manhattan - but that is my choice. I could choose to pay more to live in Manhattan, and have less space but be closer to work and all the amenities the city has to offer. Or I could live where I do, suffer the commute, and have other amenities (like space, trees, a yard etc).

No one has a RIGHT to live somewhere. You live where you can afford.

Oct. 16 2008 11:19 AM

Why do people feel entitled to dwell in Manhattan? I don't feel entitled to dwell in Tribeca, The Upper East Side, etc. and I sacrifice to live in Wash Heights. Is it shocking & unacceptable for people to be fiscally responsible and be faced with moving to Yonkers? And if that's too expensive, just maybe you should move to North Carolina or somewhere with a lower cost of living. Furthermore visit Tokyo and learn how it's standard for families of 4 to live in 500 sq' apartments. Americans expect and assume too much space, is that a crazy thought? Our our paradigm and view toward housing needs a rude awakening...

Oct. 16 2008 11:18 AM
erick from Rochester, NY

Your guest's argument is like saying "smokers aren't at all to blame for getting lung cancer."

Oct. 16 2008 11:16 AM
Kate from Brooklyn

I am so tired of this victim mentality. No one forced these homeowners to take out home equity loans on their homes. This is just ridiculous. Using your home as a piggy bank is a stupid idea and people should be held accountable for their own actions. I'm sure many of these people took vacations, bought cars, etc with this money and now we are expected to bail them out. Sorry, I dont think so.

Oct. 16 2008 11:15 AM
Zak from Morningside Heights

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, is the name you're looking for, Brian.

Oct. 16 2008 11:11 AM
O from Forest Hills

yes, we do need affordable housing. Manhattan is ridiculously expensive. $3K per month for rent is outrageous. Low income people have the right to live in Manhattan with all the movie stars and rich people. This city is too expensive and needs to come down to Earth. Manhattan is just an island like any other. Nothing special to merit these ridiculous prices.

500 years ago Manhattan was an island used by the Native Americans for hunting and Ellis Island was just where mollusks and sea shells collected that disappeared at high tide.

Time to make Manhattan affordable for everyone. Not just millionaires. The millionaires want servants to wait on them, the city needs to be affordable to the people they want to service them as shop assistants, restaurant workers, hair salons and whatever other services like massages and personal trainers.

Oct. 16 2008 11:10 AM
JWG from NYC

And, having managed Rent Controlled and Rent Stabilized apartments in 3 boros, I saw first hand how this program creates stagnation in the housing market and increases the enmity between landlords and tenants (you thought it couldn’t get worse?). Tenants who have stabilized apartments will not, or cannot, move because they have low rents and could never find a comparable apartment for that price – and they are forced to put up with sub-standard conditions and fighting with the owner. Owners have no incentive to fix up apartments or buildings because the rents barely cover expenses, or if they do cover expenses they do not cover the improvements, and, to top it all off, if they give only the basic repairs and stay just within the law, they know the tenant will not move out and leave them with a vacancy, or if the tenant does move out the landlord can get much more for the apartment. If the market were allowed to set its own prices, you would see owners be extremely motivated to have nice buildings and apartments in order to attract and retain renters. And renters would not be subject to delayed and shoddy repairs because they would be able to move to another apartment in a better building for the same price – and the landlord would be stuck with a vacancy and no enticement for higher rents. It worked in Cambridge, MA – when they repealed Stabilization the average rent after was Lower than under Stabilization.

Oct. 16 2008 11:05 AM
JWG from NYC

I don't understand something - when people use the term affordable housing they seem to imply the housing is too expensive in places like Manhattan and we NEED affordable housing in these places. There are plenty of places around the city or just outside (that are amply serviced by public transportation) where rents and housing prices are not out of reach for middle- and low-income earners. These are middle- and low-income neighborhoods.

Oct. 16 2008 11:02 AM
O from Forest Hills

There are many wealthy people in NYC. Yet, no one considers that there are many people making $50k or less per year and they work very hard.

I think affordable housing needs to have reasonable rents for a place like NYC so that someone on $50K a year can rent an apartment for $1K per month. Not get stuck in a basement apartment out in Eastern Queens with an hour and half subway ride into Manhattan to work.

It has gotten to the point you have to be so poor that you get welfare and Medicaid or be rich with $300K per year. If you make $30K you make too much to be on Medicaid, your employer doesn't give you health insurance and you have to pay $1200 per month rent. That needs to change. NYC is becoming no middle class and extreme wealth and extreme poverty.

Oct. 16 2008 10:53 AM
Inquiring Minds

For those interested, Reich's work at the time included a book "The Work of Nations: Preparing Ourselves for 21st Century Capitalism". In it, Reich urged a national recommitment to the productivity and competitiveness of all citizens.

1992 -- pre-housing bubble

Education was a part of his plan -- granite countertops were not.

Oct. 16 2008 09:30 AM
Inquiring Minds

Get government out of housing, period.

I still remember -- about 15 years ago -- listening to a speech that ROBERT REICH gave at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. He said that the governments involvement in housing -- subsidizing it, tax breaks for mortgage interest, etc. were an ABOMINATION, an incredible MISALLOCATION of society's resources.

Wanna promote or subsidize something? He recommended education -- and I agree.

See where that got us in 15 years?!

Oct. 16 2008 09:22 AM
Robert Colasacco from NYC

Ooops! I should have first read and done a bit of grammatical editing to that first post but I think my point is made. I'll take a C grade for that one.

Oct. 16 2008 08:51 AM
Robert Colasacco from NYC

Yes, owning a home is now even more a part of the American "dream" and less an affordable reality. And what Mayor Bloomberg and the developers he supports do not know what is "REAL affordable" housing for the people they're supposedly building "affordable" housing. Tell me how a rent of even $950/mo is affordable to a family who makes anywhere from $14,000 to even $30,000/annum! That comes to $11,400/for everything else for the REST OF THE YEAR. Got that, the rest of the year including more than likely gas, electricity, food, clothing, and all the fun things they might like to do like buy a $3 beverage in the park on a beautiful sunny day. THINK ABOUT IT WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT "AFFORDABLE" HOUSING OR ANYTHING "AFFORDABLE" FOR THAT MATTER. BE REAL FOLKS.

Oct. 16 2008 08:45 AM

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