Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New website attempts to explain 'affordable housing'

From the NY Times:

Affordable to whom?

That question lies at the heart of any discussion of affordable housing, but it can also transform a debate over issues like planning, development and community to an argument over definitions.

There is, of course, the government definition, which declares housing affordable if it consumes no more than a third of a family’s income. Then there are the varying definitions used by the many different so-called affordable housing programs, which typically use an area’s median income to determine eligibility. And of course there is the more basic definition: how much can a family truly pay to keep a roof over its head?

A new interactive Web site created by a local nonprofit group is intended to clear some of the mystery behind so-called affordable housing. The centerpiece is a map that allows users to explore charts of income distribution by borough or by neighborhood, showing who gets left in the cold as rents rise.

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