Gianaris And Barnwell Legislation To Reform Affordable Housing
Senator Michael Gianaris and Assembly Member Brian Barnwell, have introduced legislation (S4458/A5505) that would reform the current area median income (AMI) formula used to determine affordability for housing projects. The bill would require the state to calculate affordability for housing projects, such as 421a, using the area median income from the zip code where the building is located, as opposed to the current formula which calculates affordability based on the AMI of all the boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties.
Barnwell noted, “The current calculation that determines what is affordable is flawed, so we proposed common sense legislation to change that formula.”
AMI is determined on an annual basis by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. However, this number often results in increasing the overall AMI for neighborhoods by grouping more affluent neighborhoods with less affluent neighborhoods in the same calculation. Because of this grouping, currently, when housing is being built in less affluent neighborhoods, the AMI of that neighborhood is calculated to be higher than it actually is. A great example of how AMI is currently used to increase what is deemed affordable in a particular area is seen in New York City.
Barnwell said, “It shouldn’t matter what is affordable in Westchester to determine what is affordable in Queens. This legislation will mandate that affordability be based on the zip code where the project is located. This proposal will help lifelong residents of the area to be better able to actually afford the new housing. No longer will lifelong residents be forced out due to gentrification. This proposal is a common-sense solution to the affordable housing crisis.”
Gianaris said, “There is a noticeable lack of affordable housing for low and moderate income families in our city. As rents are skyrocketing throughout our communities, we must improve policies that will allow for all individuals to attain a sustainable quality of life.”