In New York, 88,000 people have applied for 55 affordable apartments in a single building

You may recall the infamous “poor door” development in New York — a luxury high-rise condo in Manhattan designed to include 55 affordable units that will be accessible from a separate entrance. The developer, Extell, agreed to include the below market-rate apartments in exchange for permission from the city to construct a larger building on the site than the zoning code would normally allow. Affordable housing advocates, the mayor and the media, though, cried foul when they realized that Extell intended to separate the rich from the poor.

This week, the New York Times reports a much more shocking revelation about the building: 88,000 people have put in applications for those 55 units. The first takeaway — and one not lost on the building’s developer — is that the media cared a whole lot more about the “poor door” than the people who might actually walk through it. The more important point, though, is that these odds say something tremendously depressing about the pent-up demand for affordable housing in New York (and, by extension, similarly high-cost cities like San Francisco and Washington).

[When separate doors for the poor are more than they seem]

In this case, the units we’re talking about in a prime location in Manhattan would go to households making between $30,240 and $50,340 (a nonprofit housing group will weed out the potential applicants who don’t really qualify). Rent would cost them from $1,082 for a two-bedroom to $833 for a studio. Those 88,000 applicants enter a lottery where the many, many losers can look forward to trying again in the next one.

Housing lotteries, which the city uses to distribute subsidized apartments in new buildings, have been drawing record numbers after the system began allowing online applications in 2013 and as the rental market has gotten tighter. The lotteries are expected to multiply after Mr. de Blasio’s pledge to produce 80,000 new affordable units over 10 years. Already this year, 10 lotteries have been held for 698 units that received about 486,000 applications, officials with the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development said.
Source: The Washington post