When Your Rich Dad Buys You An Apartment Meant for Poor People
And then your purchase is discussed in the paper of record
This weekend, a subsection of the Internet turned its wrath on Kendall, the young female subject of the Times real estate column “The Hunt.” Her misdemeanor? Her demeanor, at least in part. And her circumstances.
Gothamist is one of the sites that entirely lost its chill over this situation, so let’s let them tell it.
Meet Kendall, a design assistant with a graduate degree from Parsons whose parents gave her money for the down payment on a $400,000 home after she realized that paying $1,800 to live with a roommate in a mouse-infested East Village apartment could be easily avoided by getting money from her parents.
But like many hopeful Brooklyn pioneers, she was disappointed to find that even $400,000 won’t put you in a studio in Williamsburg these days. …
What could she do?? Get help, of course.
Huberman’s realtor informed her that despite her giant downpayment check from mom and dad, she could still qualify for a NYC Housing Development Fund Corporation co-op, a tax-subsidized form of affordable housing intended to make home ownership possible for lower-income New Yorkers.
Suddenly a whole new frontier of apartments were within Huberman’s grasp, and The Hunt triumphantly climaxes in her parents’ check being cashed and Huberman filling her new sunlit L-shape studio with Scandinavian homewares… but still complaining that the building is a walk-up — “I still feel guilty when people come through my door and they are out of breath.” Ah, so that’s what she feels guilty about. Got it.
All right. So I totally get why readers, especially those in the New York area, foamed at the mouth over this story. Income-restricted apartments are intended for low-income people! That’s the whole point! We’ve talked before about the ethics of gaming a system not intended for you.
Working-class New Yorkers have so little going for them that for yet another entitled Millennial princess to saunter in and snap up one of the few HDFC apartments on the market using her parents’ extra cash is infuriating.
But friends, if I may? The problem isn’t Kendall. She may be a symptom but she’s not the disease. The disease is the broker who recommended HDFC coops as a solution. The disease is an HDFC system that supposedly functions on behalf of disempowered communities and yet, in practice, gives hand-outs to affluent families. The disease is a system that pretends there’s anything “subsidized” or logical about a $400,000 **STUDIO**.
What is that about? An apartment intended for one working, low-income person that costs more than twice the median price of a house in America — about $189,000, if you’re curious — is not going to be useful to anyone except an “adult-ish” twenty-something with wealthy parents. This is a system that begs to be taken advantage of rather than to be taken seriously.
The vast majority of the anger I’ve seen isn’t directed at the system, though; it’s directed at this young woman whose main crime is cluelessness. Here’s one of the very first FB responses I saw to her story.
Those eleven “likes” disturb me almost as much as the comment itself. Even if she kills herself, housing in New York City will remain unaffordable! Let’s focus our wrath where it belongs, shall we? Agitate for a system that, rather than propping up people who are standing quite comfortably on their own feet, actually helps those who need helping. And if you have to pick an individual to be that mad at, try Rudy Giuliani.
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