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Make less than $58,450? You may qualify for low-income housing

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But scoring an affordable apartment in New York isn’t exactly easy

Max Touhey

If you earn less than $58,450 annually in New York City, you may qualify for low-income housing.

According to estimates released last month by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the median family income in the New York metro area is now $70,300. That’s a slight increase over last year’s average, which came in at $$66,200 for the typical family. Per HUD, the New York metro area is comprised of the five boroughs along with Putnam, Westchester, Rockland, and Westchester counties.

HUD also breaks down how much an individual or household size of up to eight people would have to earn to qualify as very low income or extremely low income. For instance, it would take an individual income of no more than $36,550 and a maximum income of $52,150 to qualify as very low income; a yearly income of $21,950 for an individual or $31,300 for a family of four puts you in the extremely low income category.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

The income limits are based upon HUD’s Fair Market Rent (FMR), which is used by the federal government to determine standard payment amounts for housing voucher programs, initial renewal rents for some Section 8 contracts that are due to expire, and flat rents in public housing units like those within NYCHA, among other things. This is a bit different from area median income, or AMI, which is also calculated by HUD but used by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development to specify different income ranges that determine which rents certain affordable units can charge and identify who is eligible to apply.

New York City is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis and while Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged to create and preserve 300,000 units of affordable housing by 2026, as part of his Housing New York 2.0 agenda, some argue that the initiative isn’t serving the city’s extremely low-income earners.

There are several affordable lotteries open to New Yorkers of various income categories; however, the supply hardly meets the demand. Last February, a whopping 87,000 applications were received for just 104 affordable apartments within 325 Kent Avenue, the first rental building to rise within the Domino Sugar megaproject.

Similarly, Park House, a COOKFOX-designed affordable rental 4275 Park Avenue in the Bronx, got more than 55,000 applications for its 248 affordable apartments.