“In New York, it’s not just the poor in Jacob Riis-type conditions who endure housing stress,” said Professor Lasner, the author of the book “High Life: Condo Living in the Suburban Century” (Yale University Press, 2012). “When it comes to housing, middle-income families also need help. They earn too much to qualify for apartments earmarked for low-income families, but they can’t afford market-rate housing. So they feel very vulnerable. They get that letter telling them their rent is going up, and they realize they’re one pen stroke away from being displaced, from having to pay a lot more for a new apartment, or worse, having to leave the city.
“They’re truly the forgotten middle, locked out of both luxury and public housing,” said Professor Lasner, whose department recently published a report titled “Where Will New Yorkers Live?” that underscored the shrinking number of affordable rentals for middle-income households. “They don’t experience as much stress as low-income families, but they live with a tremendous amount of uncertainty.”