New Study Shows The Bronx’s Affordable Housing Threatened; Jerome Ave Leads NYC

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A new study released yesterday by the Association of Housing and Development (ANHD) documented the variety of risks to affordable housing throughout all of New York City’s neighborhoods and The Bronx takes the lead with Community Board 4, home to the Jerome Avenue Rezoning Plan.

But it’s not just confined to the West and South Bronx. East Bronx neighborhoods of Morris Park, Bronxdale, Parkchester, Baychester, and Soundview are on the list. (Only two Bronx community districts/boards had little to no risk: CD 8 covering Riverdale, Fieldston and others and CD 10 covering such neighborhoods as Throggs Neck, City Island, Westchester Square, Country Club–all neighborhoods with high homeownership rates versus

The ANHD study looked at risk factors such as unemployment, percent with rent burden, percent with severe overcrowding, families with children applying for shelters, price per square foot change in residential sales, and number of affordable units set to expire within 5 years.

Boricua Village aka The Northrose. Over 700 apartments across several buildings and a 14 story building for Boricua College.

7,928 apartments are at such risk of losing their affordability status in The Bronx between 2017 and 2023 as Low Income Housing Tax Credits begin to expire. Once this happens, building owners can rent out these units at market value.

As Mayor de Blasio’s administration seeks to steamroll through neighborhoods across the city and rezone for higher density, these neighborhoods are already experiencing increased pressures as speculative purchases are driving up values artificially based on the possibility of the zoning actually being approved.

CityLimits points out that out of the 11 neighborhoods currently under proposed rezoning or have been rezoned, 4 are in the top ten with the most threats to affordable housing (Jerome Avenue and Southern Boulevard included).

Some other points highlighted by CityLimits are:

  • Four zoning neighborhoods—parts of Southern Boulevard, Jerome Avenue, East New York, and Inwood—are among the top ten neighborhoods in the city with the most households using housing vouchers. East Harlem, Bay Street, and Far Rockaway are among the top 20. ANHD considers a high rate of voucher holders a threat because dependency on vouchers means residents could be vulnerable to federal budget cuts.
  • Of all New York City neighborhoods, Jerome and East New York are home to the most residents applying to live in shelters. The explanation is simple: If you’ve been priced out of East New York or Jerome, where can you go next?
  • East New York, the Lower East Side, and the Rockaways rank among the top ten neighborhoods with the most at-risk Mitchell Lama Units; southern Jerome Avenue and the Lower East Side rank among the top neighborhoods with expiring Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) units; parts of Southern Boulevard, parts of Jerome, and East Harlem rank at the top for at-risk HUD units. Such statistics might be useful in determining what kinds of housing assistance each of these neighborhood will need to prevent a loss of exiting affordable units.
  • Despite the Bronx’s reputation as the last haven for affordability, ANHD’s metrics place the Jerome Avenue neighborhoods at the top of the charts, with the most housing risk factors in the city. It’s home to some of the city’s most severe rent burdening, overcrowding, and housing litigation rates (though the last could be a sign of strong tenant organizing). It also ranks among the highest for small-home foreclosures and tax delinquency.
  • Neighborhoods like East New York and Southern Boulevard also have some of the highest number of threatening factors, suggesting that the triple problem of rising rents, increased demand from renters displaced by elsewhere, and historical disinvestment makes for a perfect storm of housing instability in these neighborhoods.

It is clear that the city has a lot of work to do to actually make an impact on the affordability crisis and when we say affordability, we’re talking about TRUE affordability for we already know that the housing built in Bronx neighborhoods are anything but affordable for the residents living in the area who need it the most.

We cannot afford to continue displacing the most vulnerable (or anyone for that matter) as gentrification continues to march its way into The Bronx.

 

 

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