2009-05-01 / Top Stories

Residents Spending Half Their Income On Rent

More New Yorkers are paying half of their income for rent, according to a new report released today by Representative Anthony Weiner (D - Brooklyn and Queens). Paying a third of your income on rent, as many financial planners recommend, is looking more like a pipe dream than a rule of thumb.

According to Census data compiled by Rep. Weiner, chairman of the Bi-partisan Congressional Caucus on the Middle Class, more than 27 percent of New Yorkers are now spending 50 percent or more of their income on housing.

Key Findings in the New Housing Study: 27.5 percent of New Yorkers, or 572,644 city residents, are spending half their income on rent;

The number of New Yorkers paying half their income in rent has increased 13 percent since 2002;

Since 2002, as more New Yorkers become renters, the total number of New Yorkers that are paying half their income toward rent has jumped 82,159;

Largest increase happened in Queens, where there was a 24 percent spike since 2002, or an additional 24,361 residents who are paying half their income on rent;

Brooklyn residents are also facing a heavy burden, with an additional 25,894 Brooklyn residents paying 50 percent of their income toward rent - a 17 percent increase in renters since 2002;

More than 1 in 3 Bronx residents now spends half of their income on rent - an additional 18,468 residents since 2002. 15,780 more Manhattan residents are spending half their income on rent;

The percentage of Staten Islanders spending 50 percent or more of their income on rent dropped 10 percent, from 26.8 percent in 2002 to 24.3 percent of renters in 2008;

131,792 families are on the waiting list for public housing while 130,638 families are on the waiting list for Section 8 units.

Weiner unveiled a five-part plan to increase affordable housing options in New York City, including fully funding the Section 8 program, increasing funding for the construction of Section 202 supportive housing for the elderly, providing the New York City Housing Authority with additional funding, doubling access for tax-free bonds that are used to build affordable housing projects and supporting President Obama's budget request of $1 billion for a new Affordable Housing Trust fund to provide communities with funds to rehabilitate housing for lowest income families.

After calling for funding within the Public Housing Capital Fund in the economic stimulus bill, Rep. Weiner was able to help secure $420 million to replace boilers, elevators and to meet other capital needs for the New York City Housing Authority.

Representative Weiner said, "If New York City is going to continue as the middle class capital of the world, then middle class families must have affordable places to live. It's time for the federal government to get back in the business of creating affordable housing."

To compile the housing data, Weiner staff reviewed and analyzed data from U.S. Census Bureau's New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey.

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