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UPDATE: Though many people were outraged at the idea of a “poor door” — a separate entrance to a swanky New York City building reserved for the tenants living in affordable apartments — 88,000 people have applied for the 55 low-income apartments available in one Manhattan hi-rise .

The building, located on the far west side of Manhattan, offers a pool, bowling alley, and other amenities that low-income tenants will not have access to. The low-income apartments are available for those who enter a lottery and earn between $30,240 and $50, 340. Studio apartments are available for rent for $830 per month ; one bedrooms for $895; and two bedrooms for $1,082.

On the one hand, there’s a huge need for affordable housing in New York, where the average rent can skyrocket to close to $3,000 per month. On the other hand, is it demeaning to have a separate entrance that designates you something of a second-class citizen?

“We oppose so-called poor doors and will change the necessary rules so that when affordable housing is provided on-site, we will not allow separate incomes based on income,” Wiley Norvell, a spokesperson from the office of Mayor Bill De Blasio told The New York Times.

Update by Tonya Garcia


Originally published August 6, 2014

Remember the story about the “poor door” in a NYC luxury condo? To refresh your memory, the developer Extell proposed having separate entrances for wealthy and low-income residents. The less fortunate, of course, get to go through the lovely “poor door.” Some were unfazed by the discriminatory class divide while others were appalled. For the latter, there a petition waiting just for you!

Launched by Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal and City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, a petition entitled “End Affordable Housing Discrimination…” is calling for 2,500 signatures to end the “poor door” policy once and for all.

Let’s take it back to where it all began. Bank-breaking rent pricing are pushing hardworking low-income residents out of city so laws have been implemented to incentivize developers to include more affordable housing in their projects. Under the Inclusionary Housing program, developers are allowed more square footage if they make room for low-cost units.

In return, developers get millions in tax breaks.

The problem though, according to Rosenthal and Williams, is that “these laws have been exploited by developers, leaving thousands of low-income individuals as victims of discrimination and segregation.”

Hence, the poor door.

Once the development (built at 40 Riverside Drive on the Upper West Side) is completed, 219 units will face the Hudson River — that’s for the swanky, deep pocket crowd. And the remaining 55 units, from floors two to six, will face the street — this where the poorer residents will live. They’ll have to enter through a separate door.

“…Taxpayer money is being used to subsidize segregationist housing policies,” the elected officials wrote. “All while wealthy developers continue to benefit from loopholes in the law to increase their profits.”

So far, the petition, which calls for Mayor Bill DiBlasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo to take action, has racked up 1,518 signatures with only 982 more to go. If you’re interested, sign the petition here.

“The need for affordable housing has never been more critical, but we can find better solutions that do not treat our citizens unfairly,” Williams and Rosenthal concluded.

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