Advocates push to convert vacant luxury condos to affordable housing

November 05, 2009 10:00AM

The number of New York City apartments available to low-income families has decreased dramatically over the past decade, and affordable housing advocates are urging the city to use its plentiful failed luxury development projects to reverse that trend. After reporting that there are 601 troubled condos in the city last month, the New York chapter of Right to the City, which fights against displacement of the urban poor, is arguing that these troubled properties be turned into affording housing. In Downtown Brooklyn, for example, the 246 new be@schermerhorn condos are 90 percent vacant and priced at $436,000 on average, the report said. Turning abandoned projects like those into government-subsidized homes for families earning less than $37,000 would help fight back against the loss of 198,370 city apartments they would have been able to afford between 2002 and 2008, advocacy groups say. Through the Housing Asset Renewal Program, the city has already pledged $20 million to convert condos to moderately priced housing, but some say the program’s income cap of $69,000 per year for a single person means it will not help the poorest of the city’s residents. [NYT]