City Councilman Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach) today formally introduced a resolution calling on the federal government to pass and enact House Resolution (H.R.) 4984, which would authorize funding for the creation of new affordable housing and make adjustments to the calculation of area median income (AMI).
AMI is the figure used to determine household eligibility for affordable housing and the amount they would pay in rent. AMI is defined annually by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for all cities in the country.
Notably, the AMI that HUD sets for New York City every year currently factors in income from residents of Westchester and Rockland counties, which have higher median incomes than New York City itself. By driving up the AMI, the inclusion of Westchester and Rockland Counties in New York City’s calculation allows developers to set aside a significant number of “affordable” units for higher income brackets.
Among other changes, H.R. 4984 would remove Westchester and Rockland from New York City’s AMI, and also mandate a further study of alternate methods of calculating AMI that would result in more equitable affordable housing outcomes. Brannan believes this would be a straightforward win for a city facing a housing and homelessness crisis.
“It sounds silly that adjusting an obscure bureaucratic calculation could make a real difference in people’s lives, but this bill would help us create more affordable housing units for those that truly need them,” Brannan said. “We need to do everything we can to provide affordable and stable housing for New Yorkers at risk of homelessness as a first priority, and to stop pouring government funding into ‘affordable housing’ that’s not really affordable.”
U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Midwood, Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Prospect Lefferts Gardens). is the sponsor of H.R. 4984, which would also authorize $25 million to the National Housing Trust Fund, the HOME Investments Partnership program, and the Community Development Block Grant program for the creation of new affordable housing. Brannan lauded the measure.
“I’m urging my colleagues in the Council to join me in formal support of this legislation because it takes on the affordable housing problem from multiple angles,” Brannan said. “This is a comprehensive approach to expanding affordable housing and also to making sure the people who need it most can get it.”
Brannan’s Resolution’s co-sponsors in the Council are Council Members Alicka Ampry-Samuel (D-Brooklyn), Robert Cornegy Jr. (D-Brooklyn) Rafael Salamanca (D-Bronx), and Diana Ayala D-Manhattan, the Bronx).