Local News

‘Affordable’ housing in Long Island City? Many residents say ‘not at all!’

LONG ISLAND CITY (PIX11) – One after another, high-rises are popping up all over Long Island City.

Some of them like Q41 tout affordable housing for New Yorkers.

But ask many of the people who live around the latest development what they think of the prices and affordable isn’t exactly what comes to mind.

“For people like myself, I couldn’t afford that,” said Long Island City resident Alicia Hopper. “I couldn’t afford that at all.  It’s ridiculous.”

The apartments at Q41 are below market price in Long Island City.

A new “affordable” one bedroom will rent for about $1,800 per month, far less than the average $2,400 most new apartments in the area go for.

But, to even be considered for the “affordable” apartment, a lottery applicant must have a minimum income of $75,000.

Barika Williams, Policy Director at the Association For Neighborhood and Housing Development, says most New Yorkers just don’t make enough money to meet the federal guidelines for affordable housing which are based on the area’s median income.

“We’re a low and moderate income city when it comes to housing speak, as opposed to being a middle income city,” Williams said.

Part of the problem with middle income affordable housing is determining exactly what “middle-income” means.  Here in New York, that salary is calculated by using the entire tri-state area — which means wealthier suburbs like Westchester and Long Island help inflate median salaries here in New York City. That allows developers to charge more for apartments and also require a higher salary to qualify.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has been a staunch advocate for changing the way we define exactly what housing is affordable.

In a statement de Blasio said, “Affordable housing must really be affordable. New York City desperately needs new zoning rules to require that developers include housing working New Yorkers can actually afford.”

Williams agrees.

“Teachers, firefighters, students coming out of school, seniors on fixed income, folks who just got married and had a baby and still have student loans, it’s everybody.”

And without them having a place to live, many New Yorkers agree, the city wouldn’t be a place worth living.


16 Comments to “‘Affordable’ housing in Long Island City? Many residents say ‘not at all!’”

    Guest said:
    August 20, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    This IS affordable for a large amount of New Yorkers who make "too much" to qualify for most affordable housing lotteries but make too little to afford to pay full price rents. This one is an anomaly for normal housing lotteries, the vast majority (if you check the nyc.gov site on a fairly regular basis) are geared towards much lower incomes, so I feel it's inflammatory reporting to focus on this particular one. As someone who does make $76k/year, has school loans, and lives alone, your money doesn't go nearly as far as people would assume, especially since I get about 38% of my monthly salary taken out for taxes. Shrinking middle class, indeed.

    Anthony said:
    October 10, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    I’ve actually applied to this building. I’m in the “making too much” category and there are very few of these buildings that come around on the nyc.gov site. Most buildings are for people making under 40k a year.
    Also, there is a one bedroom available for cheaper on that same sign.

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