Income limits raised at Southbridge & other Mitchell-Lamas

BY SAM SPOKONY | ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED NOV. 27, 2013  | A newly adopted change to the Mitchell-Lama housing program will allow a wider range of middle-income families to enter the program.

Gov, Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Nov. 14 that makes it easier for families with fewer than two dependents to qualify for a Mitchell-Lama apartment. The law went into effect immediately.

Now, any household which brings in more than 100 percent but less than 125 percent of the area median income will be eligible for the state-subsidized housing. Under the old law, only higher income households with two or more dependents could still be eligible for an apartment.

Families within that income range will still have to pay a rental surcharge in order to get a Mitchell-Lama unit.

The legislation was sponsored by State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose Lower Manhattan districts include Southbridge Towers, a Mitchell-Lama co-op near the Seaport.

“Thanks to our legislation, more families will have the chance to make a life here, no matter what their family looks like,” Squadron said in a statement released on the day his bill was signed into law.

“With the cost of housing steadily rising and income levels remaining stagnant, it is more important than ever to make affordable housing more accessible to a greater number of families,” Silver said in a statement released that same day.

New York City’s area median income for 2013 — as determined by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development — is $60,200 for an individual, $68,800 for a family of two, $77,400 for a family of three and $85,900 for a family of four.

And 125 percent of that area median income is $75,250 for an individual, $86,000 for a family of two, $96,750 for a family of three and $107,375 for a family of four.

Victor Papa, president of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and also a resident of Southbridge Towers, praised the newly approved expansion.

“Anything that broadens eligibility and improves the Mitchell-Lama program is always welcome,” Papa said in a phone interview two weeks ago. “It’s noteworthy that Squadron and Silver sponsored this, and hopefully they’ll continue to be active in supporting legislation that will save Mitchell-Lama in a city that sorely needs it.”