East Harlem NYC — A new study on housing in the five boroughs recommends a city-wide approach to dealing with housing issues, not just focusing on gentrifying communities.
But residents said they’re feeling the pain now and in areas that are rapidly changing to welcome young, more affluent tenants.
“I went to see an apartment the other day, and the real estate agent told me that it wasn’t worth it going to the apartment to see it because I don’t make the six times figure that they need for the income, the rent,” lifelong Bushwick resident Alice Caiza said.
Researchers at New York University’s Furman Center identified Bushwick as one of the city’s so-called “gentrifying” neighborhoods and for good reason. Rents are rising so fast there someone joked, in graffiti, that a homeless man’s cot is going for a steep $2,300 a month.
The study does not break new ground on the presence of gentrification in several New York City neighborhoods, or the fact that rising rents are squeezing out longtime residents and attracting younger, more affluent renters and home buyers.
“Both rent burden and crowding rates increased in gentrifying areas, but did not increase as rapidly as they did in non-gentrifying neighborhoods…discussions around mitigating the effects of rapidly rising rents should arguably not be confined to specific neighborhoods, but applied more broadly to the city,” according to the study’s authors.
The real question is: what happens to those squeezed-out residents in those specific neighborhoods?
More often than not, they end up moving away or homeless.
Casper, a first-generation Ukrainian-American who was born and raised in Coney Island and recently moved out of a pricey apartment in Bushwick, told PIX11 News he’s not sure how much longer he can afford to live here.
For Alice Caiza, a tumble from stability to homelessness is now a real possibility.