Why There is an Affordable Housing Problem In NYC

A recent analysis by the City’s Independent Budget Office found that 35 percent of City tax filers (or 1.3 million households) paid no income tax in 2010. Filers who did not pay income taxes reported an average income of $9,108.

With an average income of $9,108 annually, this one-third of City  households can afford a monthly rent of only $228 per month based on the Federal affordability standard of paying only 30% of income for rent. Clearly, there are no apartments available, other than subsidized housing and a few rent regulated at less than subsidence level, that rent at less than $228 per month.

So, is this a problem of lack of affordable housing, or a problem of lack of income adequate to afford even a moderately priced rental in New York City?


                                                    – Jack Freund, Executive Vice President, Rent Stabilization Association 

(Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the RSA.)




The 47 Percent Here? Far Fewer Escape City’s Income Tax



In New York City, the “47 percent” is only 35 percent.

That’s the share of city tax filers who, according to an analysis by the city’s Independent Budget Office released Thursday, paid no city income tax in 2010 — as opposed to the 47 percent of Americans that Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, said depend on government handouts, pay no federal income taxes and will vote for President Obama.

Most of the 1.3 million New York households that filed returns but paid no tax — 67 percent of them — reported income below the threshold for owing city income tax. Another 28 percent of them would have owed taxes if they had not received tax credits. The remaining 5 percent reported negative income as a result of investment or business losses (their income, before losses, averaged $43,100).

Over all, the 35 percent of filers who did not pay city income tax reported an average income of $9,108.

Filers who owed taxes reported average income of about $100,000 (and paid an average of $2,925 in city tax).

Among those who did not pay, fully half said they had earned wages from full or part-time jobs, but not enough to make them liable for income tax.

“A significant share of these people are in the labor force and working, but they are not paying taxes because even though they are working, they didn’t have a lot of income,” said George Sweeting, deputy director of the Independent Budget Office.


Source: City Room

So it’s a Problem if it Affects the Housing Authority But Not if it Affects Private Owners?

New York City’s Independent Budget Office (IBO)recently posted an item on its Web Blog describing the financial difficulties that the NYC Housing Authority may face as a result of increased water and sewer bills (see below).

The piece focuses on the city’s Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) recent conversion of the remaining frontage accounts to flat-rate billing under DEP’s Multi-Family Conservation Program. That program sets a flat-rate of $894.15 per apartment per year which, according to the IBO, is about $60 higher, on average, than previous frontage bills. Under the new billing system, the IBO calculates, the Housing Authority’s water bill will increase from $149.9 million to $160 million. Meeting the increased bills may be a challenge, the IBO says, in light of the Housing Authority’s current operating deficit.

But thousands of private owner of multi-family properties are also affected by DEP’s billing change, with many experiencing increases of $200 or more per apartment per year. These above average increases in cost were totally ignored by the NYC Rent Guidelines Board in its deliberations about setting the allowable level of rent increase for 2012.

The Housing Authority will undoubtedly be eventually bailed out of its dilemma by taxpayer funded subsidies. But private owners of affordable rent regulated properties will be hard-pressed to fund the increased costs without reducing the quality of life in their buildings.

— Jack Freund, Executive Vice President, Rent Stabilization Association 


Water Conservation Program Could Cause a Flood of New Problems for the City’s Housing Authority

Posted by Doug Turetsky, August 16, 2012

With the New York City Housing Authority facing a recent barrage of critical press, it’s not surprising that a seemingly small change in how the housing authority will be billed for water has been overlooked. But what may seem like a small drip of an issue now could open a floodgate later.

In an extension of its effort to encourage water conservation, the city’s Department of Environmental Protection last month put the New York City Housing Authority into a water conservation program that requires water meters to be installed at all of the housing authority’s 334 developments. If the housing authority cannot meet the requirements of the conservation program, it may instead be billed by water meters that track the amount of water used in a building. This could result in higher water and sewer bills for an agency already struggling with budget shortfalls and has trouble with the timely upkeep and repair of its properties. Continue reading