Pledging support for the construction of 40,000 new affordable housing units in New York City, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is the latest addition to recent rise in political support for affordable housing throughout New York. The Speaker, in her Annual State of City address on February 11, specifically focused on support for the middle class, a group for the purposes of housing that is defined as households with incomes between 100 percent and 300 percent of area median income (2012 AMI for a family of four in New York City was $83,000). The New York City Council Finance Division details the deteriorating conditions of New York City’s middle class in her recent report, “The Middle Class Squeeze.”  One of the most dramatic statistics provided in the report highlights the extreme price of housing in New York City, a critical issue for middle-income people hoping to build their lives in the City.

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Addressing this particular housing need is certainly contentious given the extraordinary demand for affordable housing across all levels of Area Median Income. Nevertheless it is imperative that middle-class housing incentives become a part of current mixed-income programs such as 80/20. Failure to do so may damage the economic diversity of many neighborhoods and thus hinder further economic development.