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May 6, 2024



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New York, NY — Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) held a joint press conference to announce the reintroduction of their bicameral Affordable Housing and Area Median Income Fairness Act. While many factors contribute to the housing crisis, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) calculation known as Area Median Income (AMI), used to determine rent prices and income limits for affordable units, disadvantages actual low-income families seeking the affordable housing intended for them. Currently, AMI is informed by income data from the entire metropolitan area – which means data from the wealthiest areas of Westchester and Rockland County is being used when determining who qualifies for housing in low-income communities across the New York City region. This bill takes a multipronged approach to addressing some of the core challenges that have led to a severe lack of affordable housing in our nation’s urban areas. It would create over 350,000 new units of affordable housing with a $15 billion annual investment and directs HUD to assess alternative calculation methods for AMI to better include eligible low-income families in affordable housing determinations.

“Soaring rent prices and a severe shortage of affordable housing units are displacing low-income communities nationwide, including my hometown of Brooklyn. This makes basic housing unattainable for those who need it most,” said Rep. Yvette Clarke. “In Brooklyn, finding affordable housing is extremely difficult. When units do become available, they often go to applicants with the strongest applications, not necessarily the families in greatest need. To combat this widespread crisis, Senator Gillibrand and I are re-introducing the Affordable Housing and Area Median Income Fairness Act. This legislation addresses how the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) calculates Area Median Income (AMI), a statistic that determines income caps and rent levels for affordable housing. I am confident in our ability to bring much needed change, so that we can ensure every person has access to this fundamental right. Because housing is a right for all.”

“The affordable housing crisis in this country today is truly out of control. We are seeing the most vulnerable in our communities continue to be priced out of their homes and apartments at the same time that vacancy rates across the city are at historic lows, especially affordable units,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “The Affordable Housing and Area Median Income Fairness Act would reexamine our approach to calculating AMI and invest $15 billion annually to help make housing more affordable for low-income and middle-class families in New York. No hard-working American should have to go bankrupt simply for trying to live in a safe, accessible home, and I look forward to fighting for this bill in the Senate.”

“We’ve been working hard to ensure that the State of New York takes decisive action to address the interrelated crises of homelessness, housing instability, and unaffordability, but we know that we need government at all levels to work collaboratively on these enormous challenges. That’s why I applaud my friends Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Yvette Clarke for their very ambitious proposal to dramatically increase federal funding for production of affordable housing, and to ensure that the housing we do produce and support is truly affordable for New Yorkers who need it. I will do everything I can to support Senator Gillibrand’s and Rep. Clarke’s efforts to win passage of this important legislation, get these resources allocated, and finally ensure that all New Yorkers have the opportunity to live in high-quality, safe, affordable, and accessible housing,” said State Senator Brian Kavanagh, chair of the NYS Senate Housing Committee.

“One in three New Yorkers now spends half their monthly income on rent, a clear indication of the growing affordable housing crisis,” said New York State Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF – Manhattan), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Housing. “Rents are rising nationwide, yet wages have remained stagnant, leaving people with fewer housing options than ever before. Reexamining the calculation of the Area Median Income metric, which is relied upon to determine eligibility for affordable housing, would make affordable housing more accessible to those with the greatest need. The Affordable Housing and Area Median Income Fairness Act would also make a $15 billion investment in vital programs that will spur the creation of affordable housing in communities statewide. I applaud Senator Gillibrand for introducing this legislation and look forward to collaborating on solutions to address New York’s affordable housing crisis.”

More than one-third of New York City households spend at least half of their incomes on rent, and one-half of households can’t afford basic necessities due to the high cost of living in NYC. In recent years, homelessness in New York City has reached its highest levels since the Great Depression.

The Affordable Housing and AMI Fairness Act would:

  • Mandate the Department of Housing and Urban Development to assess alternative calculation methods for AMI
    • Require HUD to assess the impacts that Westchester and Rockland Counties have on New York City’s AMI-related metrics and affordable housing supply – including income limits and maximum rent prices.
  • Allocate $5 billion per fiscal year from 2025 through 2034 to the Housing Trust Fund
  • Allocate $5 billion per fiscal year from 2025 through 2034 to the HOME Investment Partnerships program
  • Allocate $5 billion per fiscal year from 2025 through 2034 to the Community Development Block Grant Entitlement Program