On September 8th, the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at NYU launched the Subsidized Housing Information Project (SHIP), a comprehensive database of close to 235,000 privately-owned subsidized rental housing units in New York City. An interactive online search tool provides users with the opportunity to view the physical and financial information about each property while layering in data about the surrounding neighborhood. The report, released in conjunction with the launch of SHIP, is a detailed analysis of the data and gives a thorough and revealing overview of the subsidized housing stock in NYC.
The properties in the SHIP database received or continue to receive subsidies through four categories of programs: Mitchell-Lama (a housing subsidy program in the state of New York serving middle to low income households), HUD financing and insurance, HUD project-based rental assistance, and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). The database contains the most comprehensive information on the privately-owned, publicly-subsidized, affordable rental housing sector in New York City.
According to the SHIP database, 2,132 rental properties in New York City currently receive subsidies, and these properties represent approximately 8% of the city’s entire stock of rental housing. Analysis of the data reveals that the Bronx contains the greatest share of subsidized rental housing units (13%).
The database contains information pertaining to the history of subsidized housing in New York City. Analysis of SHIP data demonstrates that the majority of this housing was developed in the 1970s, when many developers took advantage of the Mitchell-Lama program. In more recent years, the LIHTC program became the most the frequent subsidy source for new affordable housing development. A primary benefit of this database is that the Furman Center scrubbed the addresses from the 50 different datasets integrated in the database, making it possible to see all the subsidies attached to every property. Many properties receive subsidies from multiple sources, particularly those properties financed through HUD programs.
Over a quarter of the properties tracked by SHIP data are no longer subsidized. The Furman Center identifies two predominant reasons for properties to leave subsidized programs: failure to comply with subsidy requirements, or reaching a subsidy expiration date (often associated with the owner “opting out” of the subsidy program). During times when the real estate market was strong, such as the late 1990s, property owners opted out because of the draw of lucrative market rents. Other properties “failed out,” or left a subsidy program due to physical or financial distress.
Analysis of SHIP data shows that 227 properties containing nearly 40,000 units are associated with affordability requirements that will expire within the next five years, potentially creating housing insecurity and uncertainty for tenants. Further analysis of SHIP data will evaluate the factors that lead property owners to opt out instead of renewing subsidies. Lastly, the Furman Center plans to work on identifying the most effective preservation policies that prevent the loss of affordable units.
The report, entitled the State of New York City’s Subsidized Housing: 2011, is available at the Furman Center’s webpage at: http://furmancenter.org/files/publications/SHIP_FINAL.pdf and the SHIP database is also publicly available at: http://furmancenter.org/institute/directory/