From Economic Policy Journal:
The city says a low-income household is one earning less than 80 percent of the median income of $37,000 (by the way, if this is a relativistic definition based on a sliding scale, it's possible for a household to qualify as low-income making $150,000 if the median income is $200,000). The Furman Center at NYU says an apartment is affordable if it costs no more than 30 percent of a family's income. But what do the people say?
The people say all kinds of things about affordability. Some people are thrifty and won't spend more than 20 percent of their income on housing. Some prefer to spend more of their income on housing than on other monthly expenses and will spend 40 percent. Some think it's more "reasonable" to spend more if they conclude they're getting a safer housing experience, others spend less when they find their housing options to be inconvenient to their lifestyles. There's no right or wrong answer when it comes to individual perceptions of affordability... unless you happen to work in the mayor's office or on the campus of NYU.
Public housing programs and "affordable" housing regulations are a disaster. They punish and reward at random, they suppress profits and leech taxes out of private wealth that could be used to maintain and expand the supply of ALL private goods and services, including private housing, and they violate economic law in a tragic race-to-the-bottom. The more housing resources and wealth in general under control of the State and Michael Bloomberg, the less housing resources and wealth in general will be available to you, me and everyone else to do as we prefer with it.
Keep in mind, whereas the private sector does everything it can to try to promote the kind of quality, convenience, security and accessibility that maintain and drive property prices higher, it is the stated policy aim of governments everywhere to drive property prices and values lower. And while it is the competition of the marketplace which is the only phenomenon capable of actually achieving the government's aims (lower real property values), the government will nevertheless achieve one of its goals (lower nominal property prices) by inviting in all the crime and decrepitude normally found in government-owned ghettos the world-round, and spreading this social malice as far and wide as it is able to do so.
So, in a nutshell, Bloomie, you blew it. Your pursuit of "affordable" housing for the benighted people of NYC will forever remain elusive, but your success in visiting more stagnation, rot and hardship on those same poor people will indeed be great and remembered forever!
The U.N. is investigating affordable housing in NYC.