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Even People Who Earn $100K a Year Fear They'll be Priced Out of New York

By Jeff Mays | February 25, 2016 4:07pm
 Affordable housing is the most important issue facing the city, according to a NY1/Baruch College poll. A lottery to fill 46 affordable apartments at this newly constructed building at 382 Lefferts Ave. in Crown Heights is now open, the city announced recently.
Affordable housing is the most important issue facing the city, according to a NY1/Baruch College poll. A lottery to fill 46 affordable apartments at this newly constructed building at 382 Lefferts Ave. in Crown Heights is now open, the city announced recently.
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DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith

NEW YORK CITY — A majority of New Yorkers who earn more than $100,000 a year feel they're likely to be priced out of their neighborhood, according to a new poll. 

An NY1/Baruch College poll showed that affordable housing was the most important issue to New Yorkers, with 20 percent of those polled ranking it ahead of crime, jobs and the economy. 

Each of those issues earned 16 percent of residents who felt they were the most important issue.

Homelessness, which Mayor Bill de Blasio has spent months addressing by rolling out billions of dollars in new initiatives, rounds out the top five issues at 12 percent.

The poll comes as de Blasio's zoning changes designed to facilitate his plan to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing by 2024 are being examined by the City Council.

Affordable Housing advocates have criticized de Blasio's plan as not being affordable enough for most low-income New Yorkers, a charge city officials have strongly rebutted.

Some City Council members have also expressed concerns about the levels of affordability.

Affordable housing is a top issue because 65 percent of city residents polled said it was likely they would be priced out of their neighborhood in the next few years. Twenty-three percent felt it was very likely that they would be priced out.

Fifty-three percent of residents earning six-figures felt it was likely they would be priced out, the poll said.

For people under 30 years old, 74 percent felt they would be priced out along with 48 percent of those over age 65. For those without a high school diploma, 77 percent felt they would be priced out.

Blacks and Latinos — de Blasio's strongest supporters — also felt they were likely to be priced out at 70 percent and 66 percent, respectively.

Maritza Silva-Farrell, campaign director for the group Real Affordability for All, said she's not surprised that affordable housing is the top issue for residents.

"What we've been saying the entire time is that low- and moderate-income people feel they will be shut out of the mayor's plan," said Silva-Farrell who cited the poll's findings that 78 percent of those who make less than $50,000 per year felt they would be priced out of their neighborhood.

"This plan needs to meet the needs of those folks. The question at the end of the day continues to be that the housing is affordable for who," added Silva-Farrell.

When it comes to homelessness, 26 percent of city residents said a lack of affordable housing was to blame for the crisis, compared to 23 percent who saw unemployment as the main issue and 18 percent who faulted mental illness.

The mayor, while fighting off public criticism from Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his handling of homelessness, has ordered a review of how the city delivers homeless services, hired a deputy mayor for homelessness with crisis management experience and announced programs to provide supportive housing for the mentally ill and drug-addicted, and hundreds more beds for homeless and runaway youth.

The efforts have won de Blasio praise from homeless advocates but New Yorkers are wary that he can make a dent in the issue.

Of those polled, 57 percent were either not too confident or not confident at all that de Blasio could reduce homelessness.