In 2010, New Yorker Tracie Hunte bought a 600-square-foot one-bedroom with a balcony in Brooklyn Heights for a little more than $38,000. While it might sound like a deal that would only take place in your dreams, the purchase was actually made possible by a little-known 1955 housing initiative called Mitchell-Lama, which allots a number of affordable co-ops and rentals throughout NYC. The problem with the provision (besides the fact that most people have never even heard of it) is that many building owners have been opting out, diminishing middle-income housing in the city more than ever. But there may still be hope yet for eager apartment hunters as Democrats introduced a plan last week to boost the program by requiring New York state to fund a $750 million rental expansion over the next five years.


In New York City, 174 rental and co-op buildings were created under the Mitchell-Lama initiative. After a certain number of years, building owners can leave the program and make their units market rate. So far, 96 have done just that. It’s an outcome that’s alarming to some housing advocates, especially considering a recent study that found 68% of New Yorkers think housing is getting less and less affordable.

The new plan to reinstate the Mitchell-Lama program would finance affordable mortgages for developers to build 100,000 rental units around the state with tax credits. The Wall Street Journal reports that lawmakers are aiming the program at New Yorkers making $75,000 to $100,000 annually for a family of four. On average, those families would pay a rent of approximately $1,900 to $2,500 a month under the rental provisions of the initiative.

Via Huffington Post

Photos by Jim.henderson (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons and by Gyrobo (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons