New York City has 3.35 million units of housing
By Roxanne James

New York City Leads the Way in Affordable Housing

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The general perception of New York City is as the home to the ultra-rich and so it is surprising to discover that in fact, the city provides more affordable housing to low-income households than most major American cities.

Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio unveiled his housing plan last week and made good on his campaign promise to further expand the city’s efforts to increase affordable housing.

New York City has 3.35 million units of housing of which 2.17 million (67%) are rental units. According to US Census Data from the 2011 New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey, almost 1 million are rent-stabilised and almost 300,000 are subsidised or public housing.

The most expensive of NYC’s five boroughs is Manhattan which has the second-highest stock of affordable and available housing for extremely low-income people compared to the other four boroughs. 43 housing units were available for every 100 households classified as extremely low-income - defined as a household of four earning less than $24,900 - according to a study by the Urban Institute using 2012 data.

Staten Island’s Richmond County has the highest stock of affordable housing, with 47 units available for every 100 of its poorest. The Bronx is third with 38 units, Brooklyn’s Kings County takes third place with 35 units and Queens, often thought of as the most affordable area in New York City, comes last with just 19 units per 100 low-income people.

The national average for affordable and available housing is 29 units for every 100 extremely low-income people who need homes.

New Mayor, Bill de Blasio announced that the city will commit $8.2 billion in public funds to a 10-year housing plan that could transform the cityscape from Cypress Hills in Brooklyn to the shores of the Harlem River, while providing affordable homes to thousands of low to middle-income residents.

While campaigning for the mayorship, Mr de Blasio promised to make the city more liveable for poor and middle-class New Yorkers, many of whom find it increasingly difficult to pay their rent.

His housing plan has the objective of creating or maintaining 200,000 affordable units over the next 10 years, surpassing the considerable investment in affordable housing over Mayor Bloomberg’s three terms in office. Bloomberg invested more than $5.3 billion of city money in supported housing and leveraged more than three times that much from other sources, to preserve or build 165,000 units over 12 years.

Bill de Blasio said that the city expects to attract $30 billion in private funds which together with $2.9 billion in state and federal money will total more than $41.1 billion in projected investment over 10 the 10 year term of the housing plan.

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