When Costs of Living Outpace Housing Costs

Even when they qualify for affordable rents, tenants in high-cost neighborhoods find themselves shut out of essential amenities and services.

2 minute read

May 10, 2022, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Two people carry groceries in plastic grocery bags.

Emilija Miljkovic / Shutterstock

Residents who qualify for affordable housing developments are, in some areas, finding the cost of living in their immediate neighborhoods too high. A New York Times article by D.W. Gibson profiles one resident of Southampton, New York, who qualified for an apartment in a development sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), but now struggles to afford groceries and other goods locally, such as access to the local beach, which requires a $250 parking permit. “I have to leave here to do my shopping — even the supermarkets are too expensive,” says Liza Coppola. “She says most of the people she knows in the Shinnecock community [where she works] face a similar dynamic of being priced out of the place they live.”

Coppola says she was lucky to snag an apartment in a HUD building, which typically have years-long waiting lists. “Because she’s spent years working on housing issues — first at a nonprofit in Greenport and now with the Shinnecock community — Ms. Coppola knew she would qualify for HUD developments projects intended for people making less than the area median income of $100,722.” But she and others like her find themselves leaving the neighborhood to access affordable services. This dynamic could lead to displacement as residents of increasingly desirable areas find themselves priced out of local amenities, signaling a need for a more comprehensive approach to neighborhood affordability where housing is recognized as one of a number of factors driving displacement.

Monday, May 9, 2022 in The New York Times

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