New York lawmakers successfully lobbied to exempt the city from a new federal program to combat housing segregation.
On Tuesday, President Obama announced a new program that will dish out subsidies to landlords who rent to low-income tenants. The subsidy is based on an area’s average income: The richer the neighborhood, the more money landlords get for renting to poor tenants. The idea is that this would encourage mixed-income neighborhoods.
But the flip side of the new rules is that they would leave less subsidies for low-income neighborhoods than under the current system. New York lawmakers argued that this would cause landlords to kick out low-income tenants in large parts of New York. They won an exemption for cities with an apartment vacancy rate of less than 4 percent. New York’s apartment vacancy rate stands at 3.45 percent.
“This plan was a terrible fit for New York City all along and I am pleased we worked with the Secretary to find a solution,” Rep. Nydia Velazquez, who represents Manhattan in Congress, told the Daily News. “More New Yorkers are going to be able to stay in their homes because of this exemption and that’s no small victory for working families in our city.”
There’s no place like home, and today’s win will keep it that way for thousands of New Yorkers,” said Sen. Charles Schumer. [NYDN] — Konrad Putzier