Securing housing in a city known for sky-high rents is proving difficult for newly arrived immigrants. Of the six people City Limits spoke to about their recent searches, only one was able to find and rent a room; another is paying a coworker to sleep on a sofa, and the rest are staying in overcrowded spaces with friends of friends or acquaintances.
“People are bringing it up, people are talking about it and thinking about what can be done, but I don’t know that that has translated very well into action yet,” said Victoria Sanders, research analyst at the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. “We really want to see actions starting to play out.”
After dropping the year before, affordable housing production was up again during the 12-month span that ended June 30, officials said Thursday—what advocates say is a welcomed boost but still a far cry from what’s needed as the city struggles to address record-high levels of homelessness.
“We think this bill will bring much-needed transparency to how the administration is conducting these sweeps, and what is involved in them,” said Councilmember Sandy Nurse. “And if you think about it, especially when it comes to the cost, every dollar spent on sweeps and removals is one less dollar spent on housing.”
The administration said this week that its shelter system is at capacity. In addition to those sleeping under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, dozens are also camping out on sidewalks outside the Manhattan hotel serving as the main intake center for migrants, as the city prioritizes shelter beds for families with children.
Nearly two years after the Gowanus rezoning’s passage, signs of change are all around: demolition projects and new builds are transforming the neighborhood. According to the Department of City Planning, roughly half of the expected 8,500 apartments along the canal are in planning or construction stages.
Of the $19,000 in donations to 14 sitting council members or candidates, $13,900 comes from Taxpayers for an Affordable New York, run by the Real Estate Board of NY. Another $4,600 comes from Rent Stabilization Association’s PAC, and $500 from the Neighborhood Preservation Political Action Fund, which appears to be linked to an RSA staffer.
Advocates hoped Adams would kick off his first term by appointing a deputy mayor for housing and homelessness—ensuring that previously siloed agencies would report to the same person. He didn’t, but departing administration member Jessica Katz was the next best thing, they say.
Brooklyn tenants are trying to dismantle barriers around a seldom-used 1960s-era law that can prohibit landlords from collecting rent when they fail to fix dangerous building conditions for months on end. The campaign just had its first breakthrough.