City Council candidate says affordable housing proposal in Sunnyside is a ‘slap in the face’ to residents

Photo courtesy of Brent O'Leary

A City Council hopeful wants City Hall to change how they decide what an appropriate price for affordable housing is in Queens and beyond.

On Aug. 31, Brent O’Leary, who is running to represent District 26 on the NYC Council in 2021, held a press conference at Sabba Park, located at 49th Street and Queens Blvd., to call on the city to reform how affordability is calculated at rent-subsidized units, particularly in Woodside and Sunnyside.

Earlier this week, Mayor de Blasio released applications for three affordable housing units that is right across the street from Sabba Park. In the complex, a one-bedroom apartment is being rented for $2,300 per month.

At the press conference, O’Leary and members of the community denounced the city’s proposal for the units, saying that the city needs to change how they decide what’s affordable to the people who live here.

“These units are not priced to provide help for hard-working individuals who live in this district, because the formula that is being used by the city to determine affordability is profoundly broken,”O’Leary said. “Right now, the city includes the median income of people who live in Manhattan, Rockland and even Putnam counties, instead of using our income to determine what’s affordable to our neighborhood.”

According to the city’s website, prices for the Sunnyside Point affordable housing units range from $2,251 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,741 for a two-bedroom unit. The annual household income range for the one-bedroom is $77,178-$95,030 for one person and $93,052 -$108,550 for two people for the two-bedroom unit.

According to O’Leary, residents of Woodside and Sunnyside fear that they’ll be priced out of their neighborhoods, saying that it’s a “slap in the face” if $2,300 a month for a one-bedroom apartment is seen as affordable.

“It is not acceptable for the city to use our money to price us out of our neighborhood,” O’Leary concluded.

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