For 18 years, Mr. Murphy lived in a one-bedroom apartment in Queens. His $630 monthly rent was protected under Mitchell-Lama, a state program that gives tax-exempt financing to builders and then guarantees rent protection. But after a long battle in the courts and with the tenants, the building’s owners left the Mitchell-Lama program. Annual rent increases of 7 to 8 percent were supposed to bring the rent up to market value in nine years.
Growing Old in New York, and Struggling to Keep Up With Ever-Increasing Rents
After more than a year on waiting lists, Mr. Murphy secured a one-bedroom apartment in senior housing sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development on Manhattan’s West Side. Rent is calculated as a portion of income, and Mr. Murphy’s is $308 a month.
“It was a blessing,” Mr. Murphy said. “My biggest fear in life was being a homeless person. Seeing people sleeping on a park bench, I always had that fear. I don’t know why, it just scared me, you know?”