New York City’s Community Preference policy is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit opposing it, Winfield v. the City of New York. Plaintiffs claim that the policy has racially discriminatory impacts and perpetuates the harmful legacy of segregation. Proponents of the policy argue that it is a critical tool to prevent the displacement of low-income residents and communities from neighborhoods where housing costs are rapidly rising.

In 2019, new studies on the impacts of Community Preference surfaced, after being commissioned byWinfield plaintiffs and defendant to substantiate either side’s claims. Does the policy perpetuate segregation? Or does it protect communities of color from displacement? What is the right balance between these complex, and sometimes conflicting policy goals? These are some of the most complex and pressing housing policy challenges facing New York today.

CHPC undertook an investigation of the Winfield lawsuit, the recent studies supporting it, and the critical housing policy issues at stake. Our analysis reaches a few key conclusions:

    • The lawsuit around Community Preference raises some of the most pressing challenges facing New York City today, yet the issues at stake are complex and nuanced in ways that can be lost in litigation. 
    • The recent report on the plaintiff side criticizing Community Preference is highly flawed in methodology, inaccurate, and misleading.
    • Future discussion around these key policy issues needs to be preceded by objective analysis, so that it can remain nuanced and grounded in facts.
    • To facilitate this conversation, the City needs to make housing lottery data available, with limits in place to protect participant privacy.

Learn more about the research findings and CHPC’s recommendations in the new white paper, Community Preference Policy in NYC. Read it online below below, or click here to download the paper as a PDF.