The Real Affordability Crisis in New York City

Across the five boroughs of New York City, low-income and moderate-income households are facing a real affordability crisis in housing. The crisis is fueled by the fact that wages are declining and housing prices are rising. Policies like the Urstadt Law prevent the City from advancing strategies to preserve affordable housing. Over the past 10 years, rents have increased at twice the rate of household incomes citywide. At the same time, the number of rent-regulated apartments has been steadily declining, and most new housing construction has been geared toward the rich - and New York City’s homeless population has soared to the highest levels since the Great Depression.

The Real Affordability for All campaign was launched in March 2014 to advocate for low- and moderate-income households who are increasingly being priced out of their neighborhoods. The campaign is driven by a broad coalition of tenant associations, community organizations, faith groups, immigrant advocates, and others committed to real affordability. It has reenergized and reactivated a shared sense of purpose in the affordable housing movement.

A major goal of Real Affordability for All is to ensure that Mayor de Blasio’s housing policies prioritize and deliver real affordability for the most economically vulnerable households.

The campaign has already released two reports that reveal the need for significant reforms in how the City approaches affordable housing. The first report showed that more than 700,000 low-income New Yorkers were shut out of the Bloomberg housing boom. The second report showed that the 421-a tax abatement program has been used and abused by developers to subsidize new housing for wealthy New Yorkers at the expense of low and moderate income New Yorkers.

And now Real Affordability for All is releasing a first-of-its-kind policy platform designed to influence the larger affordable housing plan Mayor de Blasio is set to release on May 1.

A Platform for Tackling the Real Affordability Crisis

This platform reflects the views of thousands of low-income and moderate-income New Yorkers, and dozens of organizations actively involved in the Real Affordability for All campaign. It combines the on-the-ground perspective of tenants with analysis from top experts and recommendations from affordable housing developers. In this way, it is unlike any other affordable housing platform out there, and designed to spur action by Mayor de Blasio.

It is organized into five sections: 1) new construction of affordable housing; 2) preservation of existing affordable housing; 3) NYCHA and public housing; 4) addressing record homelessness; and 5) core principles for rezoning. Click on each section for more details.

New construction of affordable housing
Preservation of existing affordable housing
NYCHA and public housing
Addressing record homelessness
Core principles for rezoning