Publications

  • Research Area: Public Housing/NYCHA ×
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  • Housing, Neighborhoods, and Opportunity: The Location of New York City’s Subsidized Affordable Housing

    This report examines changes in the location and neighborhood characteristics of subsidized rental housing in New York City. The study shows that the distribution of subsidized rental units across New York City’s neighborhoods changed significantly between 2002 and 2011, not just as a result of new development, but also because of differential opt-out rates across neighborhoods. As a result, the city is losing affordable housing in the neighborhoods with the highest quality schools, lowest crime rates, and greatest access to jobs. Released in conjuction with the report, the Subsidized Housing Information Project (SHIP) is an online, searchable database of privately-owned, subsidized rental housing in New York City. View the press release or view the NYU Furman Center's infographic, New York City's Opt-Out Outlook

  • How Do Small Area FMRs Affect the Location and Number of Units Affordable to Voucher Holders?

    This brief explores how the location and number of homes affordable to voucher holders will change in the 24 metro areas mandated by HUD to adopt Small Area Fair Market Rents (“Small Area FMRs”). The change to Small Area FMR—a more localized rent measures as a determinant of subsidy standards—is designed to allow housing choice voucher holders to rent homes in a wider variety of areas. The analysis finds that switching to Small Area FMRs would open up options for voucher holders in high-rent ZIP Codes while reducing them in low-rent ZIP Codes. In addition, the aggregate number of units affordable to voucher holders in these 24 metros would increase with the use of Small Area FMRs.  

  • How New York Housing Policies Are Different—and Maybe Why

    This chapter describes New York's housing policies, exploring how and why they differ from those in Los Angeles and other large cities, and whether they have shaped how New York's housing market has weathered the recent downturn. The policies considered are public housing, in rem properties, other subsidized housing, rent control, housing allowances, city capital subsidies for construction and rehabilitation, special needs housing, local tax structures, and building codes. The chapter is organized as follows. Section I describes the city's housing policies and contrasts them with those in Los Angeles and other large cities in the U.S. Section II compares how the housing markets in New York and Los Angeles have fared during the recent downturn and considers whether differences in policies have shaped differences in outcomes. Section III explores some likely explanations for New York's set of housing policies, while the final section concludes.

  • How NYCHA Preserves Diversity in New York’s Changing Neighborhoods

    A new fact brief published by the NYU Furman Center outlines the critical role that the public housing plays in preserving racial, ethnic, and economic diversity in the city’s gentrifying and higher-income neighborhoods. The brief builds on previous work by the NYU Furman Center outlining NYCHA’s outsized role in housing the lowest-income New Yorkers. That crucial role in the affordable housing landscape combined with the geographic distribution of public housing developments in gentrifying neighborhoods means that many of the city’s neighborhoods owe their diversity to NYCHA’s public housing developments.

  • Low hanging fruit? Energy Efficiency and the Split Incentive in Subsidized Multifamily Housing

    This paper explores whether and how the rules governing utility billing arrangements of subsidized housing programs impact energy consumption and exacerbate market failures that create incentives for both tenants and owners to be indifferent about their consumption levels. We test whether these incentives or dis-incentives result in higher energy consumption in subsidized properties than in comparable non-subsidized properties.The analysis focuses on three subsidized housing portfolios: Public Housing, Project-based Section 8, and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). Using several multivariate regression models, we find that subsidized properties are associated with higher utility consumption than market-rate properties and, of the subsidized housing programs, Public Housing tends to consume the most energy. 

  • Neighborhood Crime Exposure Among Housing Choice Voucher Households

    The federal government increasingly relies on housing vouchers to make housing more affordable and hopefully enable low-income households to reach higher quality neighborhoods. This study analyzes the efficacy of the voucher program at achieving this goal, focusing on neighborhood crime. Using census tract-level crime and subsidized housing data from 91 large cities in 2000, the study compares neighborhood crime rates of voucher holders to those of public housing, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, and unassisted poor renter households. Our paper finds that while voucher households resided in neighborhoods about as safe as that of poor renter households, and with much lower crime rates than those lived in by other subsidized households, the voucher households did not choose a lower poverty neighborhood. In addition, the study finds differences by race, which suggest that housing vouchers may be more effective helping black households reach safer neighborhoods than white and Hispanic households.

  • NYC Housing 10 Issues Series #7: NYCHA Land Lease

    The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is the largest provider of affordable housing in New York City, currently housing roughly five percent of the city’s population. The agency is facing dire financial shortfalls, however, that threaten the long-term viability of its stock. NYCHA needs to close its operating and capital budget gaps, and has a limited number of options to do so. This brief explores the tradeoffs of the New York City Housing Authority’s plan to lease its undeveloped land for the construction of market-rate rental housing.

    The #NYChousing series, published in 2013 prior to the New York City mayoral election, identified 10 key affordable housing issues that were likely to confront the next mayor of New York City. The series aimed to inform the public about the policy tradeoffs by providing an objective analysis of the pros, cons, and questions related to key housing issues facing New York City. How the incoming New York City mayor would choose address the city's housing challenges in an environment of increasing needs, declining federal support, and a strengthening real estate market would have an enormous effect on the livability, diversity, and character of the city.

  • NYC Housing 10 Issues Series #8: Priority for Homeless Families

    In 2013, the homeless population in New York City had reached its highest level since the Great Depression. While the city and state adopted a variety of strategies to house the homeless, the growth of the population shows that much more needed to be done to assist homeless households seeking to move from shelter to permanent housing. The incoming NYC mayor would need to address the growing homeless census and consider whether to allow homeless families to move to the top of the waiting list for housing vouchers or public housing. This brief outlines the tradoffs of such a policy to address homelessness.

    The #NYChousing series, published in 2013 prior to the New York City mayoral election, identified 10 key affordable housing issues that were likely to confront the next mayor of New York City. The series aimed to inform the public about the policy tradeoffs by providing an objective analysis of the pros, cons, and questions related to key housing issues facing New York City. How the incoming New York City mayor would choose address the city's housing challenges in an environment of increasing needs, declining federal support, and a strengthening real estate market would have an enormous effect on the livability, diversity, and character of the city.

  • NYCHA’s Outsized Role in Housing New York’s Poorest Households

    Public housing is a critical part of the affordable housing landscape in New York City. The city’s 174,000 public housing units house some 400,000 low-income New Yorkers, or one in every 11 renters in the city. This is far more homes than any other New York City landlord manages and far more than any other public housing authority (PHA) in the United States. 2 The sheer scale of public housing in the city is one reason the stock is critical, but even more importantly, public housing plays a unique role in providing homes for the city’s poorest households. Thus, putting the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) on sound financial and structural footing should be a top priority for federal, state, and local policymakers.

  • Polarisation, Public Housing and Racial Minorities

    Cities in the US have become home to an increasing concentration of poor households, disproportionately composed of racial and ethnic minorities. In the US, poor and minority populations are overrepresented in public housing, mostly located in central cities. Racial and ethnic minorities in American public housing are, for the most part, composed of native-born households whereas in Europe they are more likely to be foreign-born. After a description of this concentration of poor and minority populations in public housing, we examine the effect of public housing on neighbourhood poverty rates in central cities. We construct a longitudinal database (1950-90) for four large cities-Boston, Cleveland, Detroit and Philadelphia—and examine the relationship between the location of public housing and changes in neighborhood poverty rates. We find that in each city, one or more of the variables relating to the existence of public housing is significantly related to increases in neighbourhood poverty rates in succeeding decades.