What are HUD 202 Parking Lots and Why Are They Critical to Affordable Senior Housing in NYC?

LiveOn NY’s new study, Paving the Way for Senior Housing has identified 39 residential parking lots within already existing senior housing that could be utilized differently to make additional affordable senior housing.  These parking lots are part of the HUD 202 program. To understand why LiveOn NY wants to open a dialogue on usage of these parking lots, it’s important to understand why HUD 202 parking lots exist.

The HUD 202 program is designed for large residential buildings (50 units or more) for low-income seniors. HUD 202 buildings are classified in the New York City Zoning Code as Non-profit Residences for the Elderly.  Because of this they have an accessory parking requirement per the zoning code. Specifically this zoning code requires that off-street accessory parking be provided in all residential zoning districts. These parking lots are only to be used by residents of the building, and are not available for usage by the outside general public. These are not municipal lots.

Currently, there is no parking waiver available in any zoning district for this housing type. Given that the typical HUD 202 building contains 60-80 units, these zoning code requirements have resulted in the production of large parking lots. There is strong evidence to suggest that many lots are underutilized by residents.

While the parking requirement was originally intended to ensure sufficient accessory parking, it does not reflect the reality most HUD 202 tenants’ lives. In order to be eligible for residency in a HUD 202 building, applicants must qualify under strict criteria that target the very low-income. In most cases, tenants earn less than $15,000 annually and ownership of an asset like a car is unlikely given their income level. Meanwhile, senior housing is typically built in areas well served by public transportation and in some cases, shuttle service is provided as a building amenity.

LiveOn NY through its Affordable Senior Housing Coalition (made up of over 25 of the leading nonprofit housing providers in NYC), has advocated for several years to eliminate these unnecessary parking requirements so that nonprofit housing providers could, if they choose to do so, find better usage for these lots, specifically building more affordable senior housing.

Again, to read the entire report, click here.

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