The Effects of Neighborhood Change on New York City Housing Authority Residents

Samuel Dastrup, Ingrid Ellen, Anna Jefferson, Max Weselcouch, Deena Schwartz, and Karen Cuenca
Report prepared for the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity, 2015.

New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) public housing apartments make up more than 5 percent of New York City’s housing units, and provide over a quarter of rental housing affordable to New Yorkers with low and moderate incomes. Most New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) public housing was built between 1950 and 1970 in what were, at the time, low-income neighborhoods. In the intervening decades, many of these neighborhoods have seen considerable demographic changes. While many public housing authorities in cities across the United States have been tearing down and replacing traditional public housing developments with mixed-income communities, New York City and NYCHA have maintained the traditional public housing model of 100 percent low-income developments. Nonetheless, many residents of traditional public housing in New York City may experience mixed-income environments, as the neighborhoods around their public housing campuses have seen increases in average income.

This report presents findings of a study by Abt Associates, the NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, and partners in New York City neighborhoods (referred to as the Abt team) on how the socioeconomic makeup of and change in neighborhoods surrounding NYCHA developments affect residents of those developments. We also explore some policies and programs that could help residents take greater advantage of changes and opportunities in their surrounding neighborhoods.

Wagner Faculty