New York City's Mitchell-Lama Program

Middle-Income Housing?

by Barbara M. Woodfill

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An analysis of the Mitchell-Lama housing program to help the City of New York evaluate and improve its middle-income housing. Due partly to rising construction and operating costs, the program has been deflected from its intended course. The study finds that almost half the project tenants have high incomes, and most do not have children. Four recommendations are developed to help reorient Mitchell-Lama toward middle-income families with children: (1) Revise the formula governing admission income limits. (2) Provide a higher proportion of two- and three-bedroom units in new projects. (3) Temporarily relax the space occupancy standards to make more units available for larger families in existing projects. (4) Implement the spot-check procedure, which has supplanted the compulsory review of income tax forms, in the annual verification of tenants' incomes.

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