4/28/14

Warehousing Residential Units in an Affordable Housing Crisis

Thank you, Art Fag City, for mentioning the obscure but terribly significant practice of New York City landlords warehousing residential units, using the empty apartments to manipulate rents.

While New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, in a "chilling" report on the city's rental market, announces that residential rents have gone up by 75% since 2000 -- pricing out anyone making $40,000 a year or less; and Mayor Bill de Blasio tries to wrangle slippery developers into adding below-market units to their new residential projects -- while admitting that it won't be enough to solve the city's affordable housing crisis -- everybody seems to be ignoring the obvious: the city's vast inventory of empty units: the ones that the real estate companies know about but never show.

In New York City, square footage is a precious commodity, hoarded like gold in vast, untouchable repositories.

Providing a rare look into the hidden practice, Picture the Homeless, a homeless-run activist group, has gathered extensive data showing that in 2011, the city had five times more empty residential units than would have been needed to house the 53,615 homeless people -- including 22,712 children -- living on its streets and in its shelters.

The report concludes that the staggering volume of warehoused apartments identified impacts every aspect of life in New York City.

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