Gothamist: Looking for an 'affordable' 2-bedroom apartment for a family? The odds are against you.

Gothamist: Looking for an 'affordable' 2-bedroom apartment for a family? The odds are against you. | February 2024: Mayor Eric Adams has often touted the record number of subsidized housing units New York City is building for low- and middle-income renters as part of his strategy for keeping families in the five boroughs.

“We have a hemorrhaging of Black and brown families leaving New York because it's no longer affordable,” Adams said at a June 2022 event announcing his housing plan. “We've decimated the middle class and we need to refocus our attention on stabilizing these families.”

But a Gothamist analysis of city data shows nearly 70% of the roughly 24,000 subsidized, affordable units built or financed citywide since Adams took office are studios and one-bedroom apartments that don't easily accommodate families because of their size.

The concentration of these smaller units is higher in many parts of the city with greater proportions of families, such as the north Bronx and eastern Queens, according to census data. As a result, the tens of thousands of families who submit applications for affordable housing each year are left with little chance of landing a small number of apartments big enough to accommodate them.

In areas of the city such as southern Queens, studios and one-bedroom apartments account for more than 90% of the total number of units being constructed, despite the average household size in neighborhoods like Richmond Hill and Ozone Park being about four people.


An elegant, white partition with floral cutouts hangs across the middle of Andrea Acosta’s well-lit but cramped one-bedroom apartment in an unsubsidized building in Jackson Heights, Queens.

On one side of the divider is the bed she shares with one of her two sons, ages 5 and 9. On the other is where her husband sleeps on a pull-out couch with their other child. Acosta’s 82-year-old mother stays in the bedroom. Their rent is $1,250 a month.

“It’s a little complicated, but you get used to the situation because there’s no other way,” she said in Spanish. “The rents are too expensive and even though you want a bigger apartment, you can’t.”


Acosta said she’d like to keep her children in Jackson Heights, where they go to school, live near friends and see their pediatrician. But in her search for larger accommodations, the two-bedroom apartments she’s found in the neighborhood range in rent from $2,400 to $2,800 a month, roughly twice as much as her family pays now. Five of the apartments were in the city’s affordable housing lottery at a building down the street last year.

It’s more than Acosta's family can afford on the roughly $30,000 a year her husband earns at a Manhattan deli. They wouldn’t have qualified for an affordable housing unit based on their income.

Acosta now hopes to apply for a spot in new income-restricted apartments planned for Willets Point, with help from the organization Queens Community House. The massive project near Citi Field is receiving city funds and tenants will be selected through the housing lottery.

Click here for the full article.

Queens Community House
Support Queens Community House

Queens Community House provides individuals and families with the tools to enrich their lives and build healthy, inclusive communities.