30 Issues: Housing for the Middle Class

Thursday, October 24, 2013

It's Housing and Urban Development Week on the Brian Lehrer Show's election series "30 issues in 30 Days." See the full 30 Issues schedule and archive here.

Ben Dulchin, executive director of ANHD, discusses the ways the mayoral candidates promise to support housing for the middle class.


Ben Dulchin

Comments [28]

Curious how the politicians point to higher home prices as a sign of a recovering economy then bemoan the lack of affordable housing.

C. P. Klapper
Author of "Popular Capitalism"

Oct. 29 2013 11:03 PM
alex from brooklyn

I am just baffled by how nobody brings up the fact that the monthly rent for these subsidized apartments is unreasonable and impossible to afford. Every time that I go on HPD housing website and look at apartments for rent, I constantly see rent being $1,000 or more for 1-2 bedroom apartments yet the income guidelines are around $45,000. This is for a family of 3-4. Not a single person in which case would be sort of manageable I would conceive. But a family that makes $45,000 paying over a $1,000 rent. Who makes these numbers? How is after tax income not taken into consideration? If I am making $45,000 that is less then $30,000 per year after taxes, which is the real income I am really making. Who cares about pre-tax gross amounts if they do not go into our pockets. So making less then $30,000 in clean money after taxes affords you an apartment for over $1,000 a month? And we are not even taking into account the family that you are supporting. I do not understand how these guidelines are developed and passed through because the monthly rent on the HPD website is almost as large as the market rent. The other day I saw affordable housing in Coney Island (projects) for over $1,000 a month. Literally over $1,000 a month. That is ridiculous

Oct. 24 2013 01:13 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

'be prepared to spend $15 for a loaf of bread, $10 for a quart of milk and $200 for a taxi ride to the airport'

That could happen if the Minimum wage goes to $15 per hour.

The market could bear those higher prices.

What do you think if the Minimum Wage went to $100 per hour?

Oct. 24 2013 12:23 PM


There is no "positive" side of a city losing its "poor". If a city is nothing but "rich" people, then who is going to service the population? Who is going to clean the streets, prepare food in restaurants, checkout shoppers in a grocery store? These are all low paying jobs. But you can't have low paying jobs if a city is nothing but "rich" people.

If you want a city full of rich people, be prepared to spend $15 for a loaf of bread, $10 for a quart of milk and $200 for a taxi ride to the airport because you will need to compensate those that work in "low end" jobs with "rich" wages in such a locale.

Oct. 24 2013 12:09 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights


If you haven't mastered the intricacies of how to paste a link to support your claims, ask a five year old for help.

Oct. 24 2013 12:05 PM

Incredible "research", Ed.

We knew you could do it.

Oct. 24 2013 11:41 AM

AC from Manhattan from Manhattan~

Time to go back to the blackboard with your Chicago School "eKonomiKs™".

A Pinochet Chile didn't really work out so well, Professor Friedman.

Oct. 24 2013 11:39 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights


I found it already. But you should provide cites to support your claims.

Wikipedia is a decent source on non-contentious topics.

BTW Wikipedia is better than socialist/FAKE "progressive"/FAKE "anti-war"/neo-commie sources.

Oct. 24 2013 11:33 AM

Ed The Other Idiot ~

There's a thing called Google. Type in "median rent nyc" (if you can). Choose from the very LONG list of legitimate sources that pops up on your CRT screen.

fyi: Wikipedia is not really considered a legitimate source.

Oct. 24 2013 11:24 AM

We need more absentee, non-tax paying foreign "residents" making "investments" in our great City™.


Oct. 24 2013 11:20 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

"The median rent just shot up to $3017/mth."

If it isn't too counter-revolutionary, how about a link to support your statistic?

Oct. 24 2013 11:19 AM

$10,056.67/mth is the required median income to qualify for a $3017/mth.

How much does a teacher make?

Oct. 24 2013 11:15 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

dyob and Pecksniff.

A match made in Heaven.

Oct. 24 2013 11:13 AM

Peckstiff ~

Don't wast the key strokes on this out of touch idiot.

Just fyi.

Oct. 24 2013 11:06 AM

That was 1952. It was all new. It ain't that anymore. Those theories of yours just don't apply now. Time has passed you by, sir.

Oct. 24 2013 11:00 AM
AC from Manhattan from Manhattan

I believe housing market should be purely market driven. There should be no rent stabilization or rent control. Why should some gets to pay less while others do not. By keeping large number of units out of the market rate, what ever is left is now higher due to reduced supply. Those who understand economics of market supply and demand behind prices will understand why price control is driving up price for everyone else. This is same for sales. If affordable housing disappears, there will be a short term spike in price but in the long run, the price will drop for all.

Oct. 24 2013 10:57 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Peckstiff

Of course it "works." Back in 1952 we were happy to go from our rat-infested tenement to the newly built housing projects. It was beautiful. Sturdy clean apartments. Grass and plays to sit. Of course, it meant less stickball on the streets, but there was nothing wrong with the Projects. The problem was a zillion totally illiterate, totally confused, totally blacks just came up from the miserable South, at a time when manufacturing was already in the Post WWII decline, so as the white Jewish boy, I got robbed of my lunch money and occasionally beat up. The gangs took over, and the drugs started coming in, and the liberals restrained the police, and it all went to hell until Giuliani took over.

But even the founder and CEO of Starbucks was a Jewish kid who grew up in the housing projects in Canarsie. I knew many who did, and left, and went on to become very successful. Nothing wrong with the Housing Projects, if the crime can be controlled.

Oct. 24 2013 10:50 AM

The median rent just shot up to $3017/mth.

Minimum wage: $1160/mth BEFORE taxes.

The so-called "Living Wage": $15/hr $2400/mth BEFORE taxes.

Most "brokers"/landlords require 40 times the monthly rent in yearly income to qualify for a lease.

$3017/mth x 40 = $120,680/year is the MEDIAN income REQUIRED!!!


Oct. 24 2013 10:48 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Look at the positive side of it. There are now so many rich people who want to live in New York, that there is no room for poor people. That means more people are getting richer. The problem is, we can't create more land. There is no lebensraum for the middle and poor, except outside of New York. Plenty of room in Africa, but everyone with money wants to live in New York. New York is not big enough for the poor. Unless we build super-skyscraper housing projects.

Oct. 24 2013 10:44 AM

jgarbuz, that's the low income housing that has been proven does not work. the trend now is to de-centralize public housing, 80/20, so that we no longer ghetto-ize the poor. that way there is less crime, etc. you are way behind the current thinking.

Oct. 24 2013 10:43 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

There is a lot of land left in Queens, SI, the Bronx, and even Brooklyn, to build housing. NYC is not Hong Kong.

Oct. 24 2013 10:43 AM
Robert from NYC

What they call affordable housing is not really "affordable" to all. A family of four on $25K /annum can't afford even $1000/ month (almost 1/2 the income) on housing alone. What do they use to pay G&E, telephone, food, clothing, inter alia. Really think about it.

Oct. 24 2013 10:43 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Unfortunately, housing is one of those industries subject to supply and demand. The lower the supply and the higher the demand, the higher the prices will be.

As a city, we can't build housing specifically for various income levels and not permit private owners to build what they want, need or can afford. However, it might be a good idea to designate one or two apartments in each existing residential structure for people of certain income levels. In this way, everyone shares the burden.

The other problem is that the low-income housing that does exist quickly falls into disrepair, so that integrating various types of families into existing structures that are better cared for than government-owned or run buildings is a good way to prevent the kind of dissipation inherent in government-run anything.

There are so many factors involved in determining housing and income that any single plan is not likely to be successful. And, forcing private owners to comply with unreasonable rules, or forcing families to limit themselves or their income in an attempt to comply, is just too much government interference - like China limiting family size.

Oct. 24 2013 10:42 AM
Barb from Harlem

Get rid of "vacancy decontrol", a rule muscled in by the powerful landlord lobby, which only hurts middle class and poor renters.

Oct. 24 2013 10:42 AM
Penny from Downtown

What will Bill DeBlasio do for the retiring baby boom generations of artists, museum pros, editors, freelancers, and etc., so that we can retire in New York? Many of us have a hair too much income for Section 8, but nowhere near the $60,000 "middle class" income that you just mentioned. We always fall in the gap. When I'm very old, I'd like a room in an elevator building near my garden, with some assistance or roommates sharing assistance, but not locked up. Is that too much to imagine? Right now it seems uppity.

Oct. 24 2013 10:39 AM
Jennifer from FLushing

My husband and I live in the Bayside/N. Flushing area of queens. When we were looking to buy a few years back we could only afford a two bedroom coop even though we had $50,000 to put down (and we were looking during the market downturn). For some perspective, 15 years ago his brother was able to buy a single family home in the same area for $150,000. Now, even treasure island houses (semiattached where you can hear your neighbor flush the toilet)start at $500,000. Our combined income is $150,000 per year but we cannot afford to buy a home.

Oct. 24 2013 10:38 AM

Oh, no,!!

We simply rent our apartment to perfect strangers through AirBnB for two weeks out of the month. When we can we sleep on friends sofas during these times. When we can't, we just sleep on the floor. We tell our son it's like camping out - he thinks it's great fun!! He sleeps on the sofa, anyway.

This way, $4000/mth is no problem for our 400sq. ft., one bedroom Bushwick "apartment". All good!

NYC, don't'cha just love it!

God Bless Amerika®!

Oct. 24 2013 10:37 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I suggest we add more floors to the Housing Projects. There is affordable housing.It's called the New York City Housing Projects. I grew up in two of them. Add more floors to them and make them taller.

Oct. 24 2013 10:31 AM

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