The New York Times recently examined one reason why the number of affordable apartments in New York may be shrinking: a growing number of families who will do anything to hand down their bargain-rate homes to the next generation. The phenomenon is yet more evidence that the City needs a solution to its affordable housing shortage.
Artificially preserving the rents of existing stock does not solve the fundamental problem. After all, as the article demonstrates, people can and do hold on to bargain-rate homes for years, even decades, depriving others of access to these rare prizes. Indeed, this kind of regulation may be a root cause of the problem.
Rather than holding down rents below market rates, we should build a new generation of housing for the middle class. We have land available – NYCHA alone has over 30 million square feet of unused development rights – and financial models such as public-private-partnerships that have been proven to work. Now we only need the political will to make it happen.
Leonard Grunstein has written several articles in regards to the housing and redevelopment challenges currently faced by New York City. Recently in an article featured on Crain’s, Leonard Grunstein discusses his five strategies to help New York City create an organization dedicated to improving existing complexes as well as creating new ones.