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What is NOAH?

NOAH stands for Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing, and is where the majority of the nation’s affordable housing comes from. These properties are affordable for low to middle class income households and operate without federal subsidy, typically with the help of investors. Unfortunately, as a result of poor upkeep and lack of management, NOAH properties often don’t provide ideal living conditions to their tenants. However, these houses were often built in close proximity to schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure. As these properties are bought up by larger development companies that have the goal of increasing rent to match market rent, communities are divided and families are displaced.

Benefits of NOAH

A main focus of NOAH properties is to keep communities and families in their long-time homes and avoid displacing people because of increasing market rents. BB Housing cites reasons that NOAH benefits communities as follows:

  • Families stay united
  • People and family lives are improved through using tactics such as property rehab, better management, and desire to keep the properties affordable
  • Properties are rehabilitated quickly and are ready to be inhabited typically within a year
  • The projects are completed with a relatively low amount of money and funds, so raising these funds is typically faster and easier
  • Pre-development stages are much faster than other types of development projects

How to Preserve Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing

The Coalition for Affordable Homes in New York City provides what they refer to as a roadmap to protecting affordable housing in a state that continues to increase rental prices in a four part plan. The first part of this roadmap prioritizes keeping low and moderate level income homeowners in their home. By providing more loan options for these individuals to renovate their homes, while also supporting programs such as BASE campaign pilot program. Part two incorporate programs that provide loans and down payments for people. The third component is incorporating a CLT (community land trust) program in NYC and implementing tax programs that keep properties affordable. The fourth and final part would be to increase funding for the creation and preservation of low to moderate income households in New York City as well as extremely low income housing in the area. This component of the four part plan also suggests funding and support go towards the Community Restoration Fund.


While this is just one model that exemplifies ways in which naturally occurring affordable housing can be preserved within a city such as NYC, there are many other efforts and methods out there for exploration.