Just by the name of it, we can only make assumptions on how great affordable housing must be. However, just how “affordable” is it?
According to the government, housing can be deemed “affordable” as long as a family is spending no more than 30% of their income to live there. The biggest issue with this is simple ratios. 30% of $1,000,000 is far less of a burden than 30% of $20,000; one family will still be left with $700,000 where as the other only has $14,000 remaining. The policy of affordable housing was introduced through the creation of public housing in 1935. The federal government gives money to the local housing authority, allowing them to maintain the functionality of the building and its services. However, not just any family will be granted an affordable home. A family must meet the qualifications; in order to qualify, the family must be earning 80% or less of the Median Family Income (median level of income distribution in the county) and have higher eligibility if they are a “working family”.
East New York holds the highest population in the City’s shelter system than that of any other neighborhood. Recently, the number of affordable housing units decreased meaning the rent is rising and many families are turning to shelters. Statistics even show that these planned affordable housing units are actually unaffordable to over 35% of East New York families. Sadly enough, the families who are in need most of the affordable housing can’t even afford it.
The emerging housing crisis is worsening and we’re only seeing more and more hardships. Families are seeing no choice but to double up and combine income just so they can barely afford the “affordable housing”. This is leading to overcrowded conditions and ultimately causing poor outcomes for neighborhoods and children. The overcrowding has become so bad that it is being associated with the early 20th century tenement living. Overcrowding has countless negative consequences including the rise in health problems.
We can see that the entirety of the affordable housing plan must be revised and reevaluated so it is able to appeal to those low-income families who are in need of the assistance before more problems continue to emerge.
“What Happens to Homeless Families in Re-developed East NY.” Http://www.icphusa.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.
“What Is Affordable Housing? NYC edition.” file:///Users/jennadangelo/Downloads/CUP,%20What%20is%20affordable%20housing%20(1).pdf. Web. 04 Nov. 2016