Fact Brief: NYCHA’s Outsized Role in Housing New York’s Poorest Households
As the largest landlord in New York, New York Housing Authority (NYCHA) units represent almost six percent of all occupied housing citywide, and almost nine percent of all occupied rental housing. The city’s public housing provides shelter to substantially more households than any other place-based housing assistance program in the city. In 2017 over 60 percent of the roughly 174,000 households in NYCHA’s public housing developments earned 30 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) or less. That translates to just $28,600 annually for a family of four. These households would have few housing options in New York City without the affordability offered in public housing.
To understand NYCHA’s substantial role as provider of stable housing for the city’s poorest households, The NYU Furman Center released a Fact Brief outlining NYCHA’s position. The fact brief details how income-based rents make public housing a unique source of affordable housing in the city by providing lower median rents than other types of affordable housing, enabling tenants to remain stably housed during setbacks or periods of financial hardship.
As recently as 2002, NYCHA’s portfolio represented just 36 percent of all units citywide renting for less than $500. By 2017, their share of these deeply affordable units had grown to 64 percent, reflecting the rapid disappearance of housing affordable for extremely low-income households outside of public housing. Nearly 90 percent of such households living outside of public housing were classified as severely rent burdened, paying over 50 percent of their income towards rent, and another eight percent were considered moderately rent burdened, dedicating between 30 and 50 percent of income towards rent.
Despite other cities shift away from public housing maintenance and development, New York City has largely retained its public housing stock. NYCHA’s buildings are the primary housing source for extremely low-income New Yorkers, whom without NYCHA have few housing options in the city’s housing market.