YONKERS, NY – (August 26, 2021) – The Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers (MHACY) has released a profile of residents who live in subsidized housing to help dispel negative stereotypes and convince more market rate landlords to rent to tenants.
The report showed, among other things, that most residents are working or have other income and very few are on public assistance; most have small families with three or fewer in the household, and other than the elderly, a majority live in affordable housing for less than an average of five years.
“Many of the damaging stereotypes about people who live in subsidized housing are urban myths. These myths hamper our efforts to attract landlords to the Section 8 program,’’ said Wilson Kimball, MHACY’s President and CEO. “The facts speak for themselves. The public needs to be informed by the truth.’’
Earlier this year, MHACY launched a campaign to encourage landlords in market rate housing to participate in the Section 8 housing program. The Section 8 program is a federal government program to assist very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled through housing subsidy vouchers. Eligibility is based on a family’s gross annual income and family size.
The report profiling MHACY residents was recently presented to a real estate industry group as part of the marketing campaign which is designed to reinforce the fact that Section 8 residents are good, reliable tenants.
Jennifer Martinez, MHACY’s Assistant Leased Housing Director, complied the report from data that the authority is required to provide the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The report profiled a total of 3,094 residents, 1,800 who live in more than a dozen MHACY properties across Yonkers, as well as another 1,294 who live in private apartments where their rent is subsidized through the Section 8 housing voucher program. MHACY administers the Section 8 vouchers.
Martinez said the data that she has reviewed may surprise some people who have negative perceptions about residents of affordable housing.
“For the most part these are not families on welfare, they do not have a lot of children, they are not majority African-American, and the fact that aside from the elderly, most of our residents live here for under five years, shows me that living is subsidized housing is not generational.’’
Martinez said with the exception of MHACY’s elderly, most residents live in subsidized housing for five years or less. She said that fact points to people choosing to live there as a steppingstone, rather than a permanent lifestyle. She said that many residents live in affordable housing temporarily while earning degrees and move on to better paying jobs; or while they recover from a disaster such as a fire, major illness, or loss of employment.
Kimball said that she hopes that the numbers will change attitudes.
“Making affordable housing available using Section 8 vouchers in partnership with private developers is a win-win,’’ said Kimball. “If these numbers can help to convince more market rate landlords to participate, then we have accomplished our goal.”
Some findings of the study:
While 80 percent of MHACY residents have extremely low income (average $21,472 a year) only 6 percent are on public assistance with the rest either employed in minimum-wage jobs or receiving disability, social security, or other pension as a means of support.
Of the 3,094 residents profiled 27 percent are adults under the age of 62 with children; 19 percent are under the age of 62 with no children; 19 percent are elderly with no children; 20 percent are elderly or disabled; 12 percent are disabled under the age of 62; 1.5 percent are elderly with children and 1.5 percent are elderly and disabled with children.
Of the 3,094 residents profiled, 57 percent are white, 41 percent are black with the remainder being other (Latino fall into both black and white).
LENGTH OF STAY
Of the 3,094 residents profiled, 5 percent live in housing less than a year; 7 percent 1-2 years; 35 percent 2-5 years; 13 percent 5-10 years; 28 percent 10-20 years and 11 percent over 20 years.
COMPLETE REPORT ATTACHED
The Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers (MHACY) is the largest provider of affordable housing in the City of Yonkers and the second largest public housing authority in New York State. MHACY has an unparalleled commitment to redeveloping, managing and administering its housing stock to provide low-income families, the elderly and disabled individuals with access to good, sustainable housing that improves the quality of the residents’ lives, fosters their economic success, and allows them to serve as integral members of communities in which they live. For more information visit www.mhacy.org