Citizens march through downtown Brooklyn in protest against gentrification on the 21st of September, 2019. By Paul Frangipane.
29 January 2020, by Delaney Jones
Gentrification is a growing problem worldwide, especially in New York over the last five years. Developers force low income citizens out of their houses to make way for more expensive housing, making the homes too expensive for the low income citizens to afford. This brings about a massive crisis as New York, a place that used to be a home for people of all social classes, slowly becomes only affordable for the wealthy, and much too overpriced for the low or middle class citizens.
As of 2016, over one third of low income households in New York were experiencing pressure from gentrification or displacement. This accounts for 24% of the New York metro area’s population. By 2018, overpriced housing caused nearly a million people to move out of their homes in New York City. By 2019, over 12% of neighborhoods in the entire region of New York City were undergoing gentrification, and another 9% were experiencing displacement. Karen Chapple, UC Berkeley city and regional planning professor, says the “housing affordability crisis is displacing low-income families throughout the New York region, a pattern that is being replicated in other high-cost regions around the country.” The economic growth in New York may be good for some businesses but is negatively affecting those being displaced and overpriced out of their homes.
Specifically, Latinx and Black neighborhoods in New York suffer the effects of gentrification. Ronald Daniels, President of the Baltimore based civil rights network Institute of the Black World 21st Century stated that “in neighborhood after neighborhood in New York City, from Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx to Harlem, gentrification is rapidly displacing hundreds of thousands of black people.” New York City rezones every few years in order to communally benefit the city, however, it ultimately displaces the lower income people, who happen to be primarily Latinx or Black. 58 percent of homeless people in New York City are black, and 31 percent are Latinx. The high end housing that comes with the economic growth in New York leaves nowhere for the low income people to live, and as the amount of gentrification happening grows, the fewer low cost houses there are available.
The necessity for more affordable housing in New York is dire if the displacement and homelessness crisis is to be solved. UC Berkely did research on gentrification and how to ease its detrimental effects on the more vulnerable populations. “Our research suggests strategies that can help stabilize communities and keep them affordable,” says Karen Chapple, UC Berkeley city and regional planning professor. The research suggests that legislators consider the effects of their investments on displacement and affordability in that area before they make them. New York State has helped suffering communities by investing 20 billion dollars into aiding the homeless and to make housing more affordable in 2017. Of that 20 billion, 200 million is being donated to the New York City Housing Authority, a public development corporation that provides public housing in New York City.