In the United States, a commonly accepted guideline for housing affordability is a housing cost that does not exceed 30% of a household’s gross income. Housing costs considered in this guideline generally include taxes and insurance for owners, and sometimes include utility costs. When the monthly carrying costs of a home exceed 30–35% of household income, then the housing is considered unaffordable for that household.
Strong competition for limited low rent accommodation both in the United States of America and in other parts of the world is seeing those most in need being squeezed out of the market. The result is the social risk management issues for the many disadvantaged groups who most need help are not being adequately addressed.
Recently, concerns have been raised about the provision of affordable private rental housing in the city of New York in particular and in developing countries in general. There is no doubt that the private rental market is very difficult to negotiate for low-income renters. The inflation rise in rents further compounds the pressure on the low cost end of the market. The impact of these trends appears even more serious when we consider that private rental is being used as a longer term housing option by a significant proportion of low to middle income earners. Recent reports have pointed to the impacts of these characteristics of the market on the nature and extent of homelessness. For this reason it is not surprising that various studies have pointed to the need for increased provision of low cost housing for private rental. Thus affordability has found its way into many discussions on housing policy in relation to the private rental sector as an end in itself – the reasons we aspire to this goal are so obvious they almost go without saying.
Thus, GAI’s goal in addressing affordability is to intervene in peoples’ access to housing. Our strategy for developing affordable rental housing will be to acquire (via purchase or net lease) vacant, substandard buildings, and, using a combination of Government grants and donations from individuals and funding agencies rehabilitate them.
In order to be eligible for the program, tenants must have a family income that falls below specified limits established by the federal government and the State of New York. Applicants’ income will be computed by the management agent for the development, according to rules and regulations set by the state and/or federal governments.
GAI’s Housing Committee has develop eligibility criteria. These criteria, approved by the board will be used for deciding which persons and families are eligible to live in the housing units. Factors for determining tenant selection may include but not limited to: credit history, prior criminal convictions, prior rental experience and other factors. GAI does not discriminate in selecting tenants based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, marital status, height, weight, or handicap. GAI however, may discriminate based on age only at developments reserved for the elderly.