In Brooklyn, Developers Can't Find People Who Qualify for Affordable Housing

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Is Brooklyn so gentrified that there aren't even people to fill affordable housing? Barika Williams, policy director at Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD), talks about the state of affordable housing and the report that there aren't enough local residents who qualify for some Brooklyn units.


Barika Williams

Comments [16]

wanda h

I was force to move out of ny because the rent is so hi I'm alone I have one sister thats msrried that lived in bklyn. My mother died in 2011, I'm depressed and living ina state not by choice but was forced out of ny due to genificstion I gree up in bklyn I need someone to help me with afforable housing I have no family but my sister I'm 600 somrthing miles from her things always work for the lying people never

for me. Can someone help in brooklyn I lived in clinton hill all my life.....thank you

Aug. 13 2014 03:40 PM
Jay from Prospect-Lefferts Garden

I gotta say Brian, between this and the Malcolm X anti-gun advocate last week, you are really only presenting one side of the story in your pieces lately. You have to get some developers or PBA reps on the air. Or at least try and tell your audience they wouldn't come on. I your show, but lately it's been way too left-wing (and I identify as a left-leaning centrist, so I usually agree to some extent with your guests, but I don't want your show to turn into a liberal platform).

That being said, I am fully in favor of state-subsidized affordable housing and income integration, but the notion of the $70k earner being unable to afford her own place is laughable. There are plenty of studios is "non-hip" parts of Brooklyn that would not put her over 30% of income to rent. And not to mention the teacher who wants her own place in Manhattan! Please!

I also take issue with the 30% rule of thumb that ANHD and other housing advocates seem to think is a good way to measure "rent burden." 30% of income is much different for someone making $25,000 a year than a six-figure earner. Simply a useless comparison. But your guest is right - HUD's AMI is equally unhelpful because it encompasses much too large a jurisdiction.

Anyway, love the show and hope to see you balance it out more, thanks.

Aug. 09 2014 10:36 AM
MP from 11201

Believe me, there are plenty of people who live in Community Board 2 who qualify for these affordable units. I am one of them. The problem lies in how these developers calculate income. While they claim that income is determined by your circumstances at the time of the interview, my personal experience shows anything but. Last year, my income was $10,000 more than this year and yet when I interviewed for 388 Bridge St (another development in Comm. Board 2) the interviewer used the higher income from the previous year. Even when I appealed and provided medical paperwork explaining the condition which necessitated my reducing my work schedule, the determination was that I was still over income. Their thinking is if you made 36K before, you can make it again and they will always go with the higher income even if your present circumstances prove you are no longer at that income level. Often times, the person who sent you the disqualification letter in the first place is the same person who is evaluating your appeal so the determination outcome of the appeal will be the same. These lotteries will often get upwards of 50,000 applications for a handful of affordable units and the evaluators want to process them as expeditiously as possible even if that means rejecting eligible folks. In my experience, it's not uncommon for there to be a $5,000-$10,000 discrepancy between what I actually make and the developer's calculations of my income is and therein lies the problem.
I applied to 66 Rockwell Place for which I had community board preference. When I got the letter to come in for the interview I ignored it because at the time, I was over income. Several months later when the developers failed to fill their community board preference slots for 50% of the affordable units, they sent out a second request to the community. However, because I had applied once before I was prohibited from applying again even though this time, I was income eligible. These are just two of the many reasons why eligible people don't get in. In my case, I have stable employment, excellent credit and don't make a lot of money. There are plenty of others who are in my shoes. A more just and accurate method for computing income eligibility based on present circumstances needs to be put in place for these programs to accomplish what they were meant to accomplish which is providing affordable units to working adults who don't make a lot of money.

Aug. 08 2014 08:54 AM
Peggy from Manhattan

The magic word may be guarantor. If the helicopter kids couldn't use a parents income and could only rent on their own salary oh boy would studios and one bedroom apartment rents fall.

When rent is based on what the world market is willing to pay for a spot in our fair city (or it's environs) all hope is gone. We are about to become a huge hotel with residents staying only a few years at most to sew their wild oats and move on.

What a shame for us all and how shameful for our politicians to be so indebted to developers.

Aug. 07 2014 02:41 PM


Aug. 07 2014 11:28 AM
Lanie from Inwood, Manhattan

Part of the problem is how the developer determines applicants' income. The developers rely on your past two tax returns, so if your income has gone down dramatically since you last filed a tax return (as has happened to many people in this economy), good luck convincing them of that.

My domestic partner and I put an application into the lottery for a 1-BR in the Atlantic Terrace low-to-moderate-income units. At the time I sent in the application, we qualified for the moderate income units. By the time our application came up in the lottery, my partner was unemployed and I had left my law firm job for a much lower-paid job for a non-profit with an annual income of $43K, which (at the time) was supporting both of us.

The developer notified us that we were rejected because our income was TOO HIGH for the unit. However, they never informed us in any of their communications exactly what the income band was for that particular unit.

Aug. 07 2014 11:15 AM

AirBnB is the new "affordable housing"!!

How much can we tolerate?!

Aug. 07 2014 11:04 AM

The Toll Bro's Pierhouse® development at Brooklyn Bridge Park has apartments that START at $2M…TWO MILLION!!!

Meanwhile there's a fantastic new recreation pier with covered basketball courts and roller rink etc…

It's VERY CLEAR that Bloomberg installed this facility as subterfuge to distract from his greedy gentrification buddies reorienting the socio-economic mix. This rec pier is the bone thrown to the 99% who can no longer afford to live in their own neighborhood any more.

We're suppose to feel better as we're ALL priced out of our homes!!


SICK Sh•t!!

Aug. 07 2014 10:58 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

@Tom, well said. There are tons of families living in 1brs because LL's are pricing their 2+brs for room mates that need guarantors to pay their rent. There is a disconnect between housing needs of native New Yorkers and the "market".

Aug. 07 2014 10:49 AM
tom from asioria

Of course many Brooklyn residents are shut out --Affordable housing is a sham: It is a covenant construct that politicians use as a way to give developers what they want, with a few extra floors on top, it's the developers' way of getting more of what they want -- land use and height, and even banks use it to fulfill terms in a settlement: recently Citibank, restitution penalty included affordable housing.

Aug. 07 2014 10:37 AM
Breaking: Israelis about to kill 40,000 Muslims

OK, it's Muslim on Muslim, but besides that it's true, please don't click away!

Aug. 07 2014 10:31 AM

change the laws!

Aug. 07 2014 10:31 AM

Are we still talking about Crooklyn? =)

Aug. 07 2014 10:28 AM
Ian from ENY Brooklyn

Define affordable. These developers are obviously not in ENY, Brownsville or Cypress Hill. Stop fooling the public into thinking msrket rate is the norm. Stop building up and make neighborhoods and homes like Nehemiah at Spring Creek

Aug. 07 2014 10:20 AM
It's called The Real New York and...

10-15 years too late to find this population

Aug. 07 2014 10:02 AM
Norman Oder from Brooklyn

The question "Is Brooklyn so gentrified that there aren't even people to fill affordable housing?" is awkwardly phrased.

it certainly seems to be that, in a specific community district (where locals get preference) like Community Board 2, it is difficult to find people who qualify (including credit check) for low-income units, in part because many of the current low-income residents are in rent-stabilized or public housing units and wouldn't want to leave.

See this DNAinfo article as well:

However, when "affordable housing"--as in 300 of the 600 units in the next two Atlantic Yards towers--means units for households at 165% of Area Median Income (meaning $141,735 for a family of four), you can bet more people will qualify.

Norman Oder
Atlantic Yards Report

More here:

Aug. 07 2014 09:57 AM

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