Promoting Equity in Subsidized Housing

As the real estate market begins to rebound, many affordable housing advocates and developers in NYC are calling for a modification of the 80/20 program.

The 80/20 affordable housing policy requires the developer to set aside 20% of new units for low-income tenants "making less than 50% of the area's median income," explains Marc Santora. As a result, "people from both extremes of the income scale live across the hall from one another" in Manhattan, creating the social and economic mixture in different neighborhoods.

Critics of the program identify two key elements that they find problematic. On the one hand, "it often does not make economic sense since it can cost three times more and provides fewer apartments than a traditional mid-rise dedicated to affordable housing," reasons Jeffrey Levine.

Additionally, the program raises the question of equitable appropriation of government subsidies. Ingrid Gould Ellen of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at NYU elaborates:

"How much are we willing to pay to create diversity? When you have a lot of need, should you put all the resources on serving the very neediest? Or should you have a broader approach, one that includes the upper middle class? It is something the city has been trying to balance."

Full Story: Across the Hall, Diversity of Incomes


Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month
Woman wearing city map tote bag

City Shoulder Totes - New Cities Added!

Durable CityFabric© shoulder tote bags available from 7 different cities.
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."