The Real Deal New York

Rent vouchers would eliminate need for “poor doors”: OPINION

Affordably-priced units not the answer to city's housing woes, says Halen Real Estate head
September 15, 2014 08:00AM

New York City’s “poor door” phenomenon has proven unpopular, but could be eliminated for good should Mayor Bill de Blasio implement an alternative strategy would eliminate it, Hanlen Real Estate Development & Funding managing member Leonard Grunstein wrote in a Sunday op-ed for Crain’s.

Offering up more affordably-priced units is, Grunstein argued, not the answer to Gotham’s housing woes. Instead, he suggested the city attack the underlying problem of rents being out of reach for many families by issuing vouchers that lower-income tenants could use at apartments throughout the city. Such vouchers would eliminate the need for so-called “poor units,” as renters would then have access to a wider array of housing stock.

Grunstein proposed having developers contribute to such voucher funds by paying into a city-administered pool. The cost of doing so, he argued, would be roughly equivalent to the cost of constructing affordable units. The vouchers could also be funded by auctioning air rights and other zoning bonuses to developers, according to the article.

The vouchers would be a win for developers as well, enabling them to build more market-rate units on a site, according to Grunstein. [Crain’s] Julie Strickland