by Howard Husock
May 06, 2014
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio is pressuring the redeveloper of the derelict former Domino Sugar refinery on the Brooklyn waterfront to increase the number of apartments set aside at below-market prices. He wants to add 200,000 “affordable” units, and he promises by May 1 to release a plan for doing so. An argument can be made that New York City does not actually face an affordable-housing crisis. The Department of Housing and Urban Development suggests that households should pay no more than one-third of their income for rent or mortgage expenses, and the median New York renter paid 32.5 percent of income in rent. But the de Blasio administration sees social injustice in the possibility that luxury-apartment dwellers could insulate themselves from those of modest means. There are better alternatives that would advance de Blasio’s housing aims and also improve the city’s troubled public housing system.