Our Impact

Over the years, City Limits has exposed dozens of issues and elevated hundreds of voices. Here are just a few examples of areas where we’ve made a difference:

•Our report on the long wait for homeless shelter residents to access apartments in public  housing got near-immediate results for our main source: Natasha Logan waited more than 10 months in a Queens shelter despite already having been approved for a NYCHA unit. The day after our story about her plight was published, NYCHA finally handed over the  keys to her new home. 

•We have continued to build out and update our Shelter Tracker to more accurately keep track of the number of people staying each night in the city’s shelter system—a figure that’s historically been hard to pinpoint thanks to the city’s complicated data collection and reporting system. Our project was highlighted in a full-length article in the The New Yorker, entitled “Why Thousands of People Are Left Out of New York City’s Daily Homeless Census.” In response, City Hall has indicated it will overhaul its metrics system for the shelter system and the City Council passed legislation that will require city agencies involved in sheltering New Yorkers to produce a more complete report of who it is serving and how. We will continue to publish the Shelter Tracker project as well as monitor how the city fulfills these promises around transparency, especially as recent emergency orders passed in response to the influx of asylum seekers has made it easier for the city to obscure some of those operations.

•We were the first news organization to comprehensively investigate the flaws in New York’s use of financial bail, and our reporting informed work by human-rights organizations that in turn spurred action by the state court system.

• When the city’s Department of Education decided to open the meetings of its school siting task-force to the public, a leading advocate credited City Limits’ reporting, among other factors.

• Shortly after City Limits reported on doubts about the city’s street-homelessness outreach program in 2019, City Hall announced a revised policy that included more short-term beds.

• Our reporting in 2019 on pay disparities within the UPK program and the demands of senior citizens and their allies for better resources in the city budget led to wins on both fronts.

•City Limits’ reporting on the mayor’s affordable housing plan and the concerns about low-income renters and non-profit builders being excluded prodded the discussion that led to changes in the city’s approach in 2016.

•Our 2010 investigation of one of the convictions related to the Brian Watkins murder led to that defendant, Johnny Hincapie, being released from prison after 25 years after his case was reopened.

•The 2013 series “Flaws in City’s MWBE Program” preceded significant efforts by the city to reform their programs for giving those firms a fair shot at city contracts.

•Our 2018 reporting about commuter railroad fares and transit accessibility informed proposals by City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Dutchess County Executive/GOP Gubernatorial nominee Marcus Molinaro to improve the transit system.

•In 2013, City Limits raised questions about the state’s casino gambling plan that proved prescient when those facilities significantly underperformed.

• Four months after our investigation of the LLC loophole in NY State election donations, the State Senate passed a reform measure to begin closing the loophole; City Limits coverage contributed to the legislative push that is now nearing success.

• An investigation of 20 years of firefighter fatalities that we published in 2011 has been cited in Fire Engineering magazine and in the annual report of the Texas Department of Fire Investigation.

• Many of the 18 tenant protection bills recently introduced to the Council address issues that were first covered in City Limits, including buyouts—which we reported on as early as 2014—and issues around violations, permitting and the affordable housing lottery.

• When an alumnus of our CLARIFY program found his family’s Queens home affected by a sewage flood in 2019, he put his research skills to work for his neighborhood.  “I looked at the 311 call records and community needs statements and found that this has been a problem for years,” he emailed. “I just wanted to say thank you for the CLARIFY program because it has truly helped me start thinking like a reporter and now I can actually talk and help my own community!”