Fancy Apartment Building Makes Poor Residents Use Separate Entrance

It's amazing how government bureaucracy and over-regulation can seriously screw things up for the people forced to live under the laws designed to "protect" them. For example, one law in New York City having to do with affordable housing has led one developer to legally create what many are calling a "poor door."

Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration is under fire for approving a building for mixed-use residence -- about 20 percent of the 33-story skyscraper will be low-income housing, while the rest will rent or sell for market value. The problem? The affordable units will be grouped together in one area, and will have its own separate entrance. Talk about separate but equal.

Civil rights attorney Randolph McLaughlin called the building-within-a-building design "disgraceful," and called out the developers. "To permit developers or encourage them to create separate and unequal buildings and take tax credits and benefits from the city," he said, "I think that's a constitutional violation."

The whole thing stems from a 2009 law signed by then Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who sought to offer "tax breaks and more space in exchange for building affordable housing either in the building itself or close by." The idea was to give poorer families an opportunity to live in a new building, and have access to better schools for their children.

Let's just completely set aside the fact that it's sort of completely and totally unfair that people are getting handouts from the government to live in luxury apartments in New York City, which is just a pipe dream for many.

Back to the issue at hand. Private property is private property, and a very legal form of discrimination is the abilty to pay. There's nothing wrong with that. It's so wrong to refuse to sell something to someone because they're the wrong gender or color or whatever, but everyone has the right to refuse to sell something to someone who has no ability to pay for it.

Thanks to government entitlements, these lower income residents do have the ability to afford to live in a luxury apartment building. And if they can afford to live there (whether by their own money or Uncle Sam's), they have every right to use the front door. Anything less is pure discrimination, and harkens back to the days of Jim Crow laws.

More from The StirNew York City Apartments Are About to Get Even Smaller

If these hoity-toity rich people didn't want to disdain themselves from mingling with the poor people in the halls, they should have lobbied against a law that would give such broad entitlements to the poor.

But I guess it's one thing to say they want to help the disadvantaged, and another entirely to actually live with them.

Do you think the subsidized housing residents should be forced to use a "poor door"?


Image via Inhabitat Blog/Flickr

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nonmember avatar elaine

those precious nyc liberals

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

I don't have a problem with it. The law says they have to include affordable housing, not that it must be exactly equal. They could build their luxury building on one lot and the affordable building a couple of lots over. Also luxury buildings have amenities like concierge and valet parking, not perks they need to offer to the affordable housing customers.

nonmember avatar Miss Ann Thrope

I would like to point out that this is not a different door to the same area. It's a different area, so it's not like making the help use the back door to access the same house. The different area may be to prevent low income residents from using ammenities that other residents pay for, such as a gym, clubhouse or pool. If the seperate entrance serves a practical purpose I don't see a problem.

IHear... IHeartCake

It would help to see a video tour or at least photos of what we are talking about, but based on just the article, I want to say, "Cry me a river... wahhhh they get to live in a subsidized brand new apartment in New York and their side of the building has a separate entrance.  OMG it's the end of the world!"  

Try being a poor person surrounded by gang violence in Central America, or someone living in a real war zone too poor to move anywhere.

Kristin McLaughlin

They created a separate building, inside another building, for low income housing.  This allows people of low incomes to live in a nicer neighborhood and have access to better schools.  Since it's a separate area, it makes sense that there is a separate door.  I am not understanding the problem.  Also, since they are not paying all of their rent, I am not sure why their apartments should be equal to the apartments that people are paying a lot of money to live in.  

Ashle... AshleyB1984

Seperate door is a good idea. Without handouts they wouldn't even be in this building. 

Kaylee Geet Milk Muffincakes

I wouldn't mind using a separate door as long as I got to live in a nice, updated home with my family and that it was up to code and not putting anyone at risk during a fire emergency.

nonmember avatar gsmomma

As someone who has been poor and living in scary places. If I had a chance to send my dd to a great public school, live in luxury apartment buildings, sleep safe at night ,and not to be afraid to be out after dark and its affordable! I think I could handle a separate door. I agree with other commenters. These apartments should not have all the upgrades and amenities everyone who pays full price have. If using a separate door to access your safe home in good schools bothers you you are more than welcome to stay somewhere else. Its a completely diff building. That's like ppl getting upset about taking drug tests to receive govt. assistance. If we are paying your childcare, housing, grocery bill or anything I want to make sure you aren't using your $ you do earn for drugs.


I know it's being referred to as the poor door ,but there are people moving in who are working stiffs like everyone else. There will be teachers, nurses etc. Don't make it sound like it's only welfare mothers.

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