While the de Blasio administration has been making strides towards creating and preserving affordable housing—they want to create or preserve 300,000 affordable units by 2026—the number of severely rent-burdened New Yorkers has increased slightly or remained steady, an analysis by the non-profit watchdog group, Citizens Budget Commission has revealed.
CBC based its analysis on the recently released New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey. That shows that 44 percent of all New York households are rent burdened, meaning they pay more than 30 percent of income toward rent, after accounting for rental housing vouchers and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. A little over half of these households are severely rent burdened, which means they pay more than 50 percent of their income toward rent.
The alarming statistic here however is the fact that 91 percent of these severely rent-burdened households are low-income New Yorkers. About 80 percent of these households are Extremely Low Income (ELI) and Very Low Income (VLI). These families and individuals make less than 30 percent and 50 percent of the area median income. In plain numbers, low-income New Yorkers (ELI and VLI) paying more than half of their income toward rent sits at 368,000 households, which is significantly higher than the number of affordable units the city administration hopes to preserve and create.
A large number of these households are New Yorkers over the age of 60 or young, single parents under the age of 29. The CBC however argues that the city can’t be held solely responsible for the affordable housing crisis. Instead it has called on more state and federal involvement pointing to the fact that non-rent burdened, low-income New Yorkers benefitted from at least one federal housing benefit like public housing or the Section 8 Housing Voucher program.