New York beats most U.S. cities in housing its poor: OPINION

Big Apple is No. 4 in ranking of cities that offer highest percentage of affordable units

The rent may be too damn high, but the Big Apple is actually doing relatively well when it comes to housing its poorest citizens.

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While New York City could hardly be called a bastion of affordability, the pricey place is actually doing better by the poor than most major American cities, according to Erin Carlyle’s recent article in Forbes. The Big Apple holds 43 units of affordable housing for every 100 extremely low income households — defined in New York as a family of four earning less than $24,900), according to an Urban Institute study cited by Carlyle. Across the nation, only 29 housing units are available on average for every 100 extremely-low income household.

Nearly 1 million of New York City’s 3.35 million housing units are rent-stabilized, and nearly 300,000 are subsidized or public housing, according to U.S. Census Data form the 2011 New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey, which Carlyle cites as the most recent and accurate survey of the city’s housing stock. Manhattan holds the second-highest stock of affordable and available housing for extremely-low income residents among the five boroughs, while Staten Island does even better with 47 units for every 100 low-income family.

Compared to other metropolitan areas nationwide, Manhattan’s New York County ranks fourth in terms of providing housing for its poorest citizens. Suffolk County, Mass. — home to Boston — does best with 50 affordable units poor 100 people, while the District of Columbia and Middlesex County, Mass., located northwest of Boston, come in second and third respectively. [Forbes]Julie Strickland