Friday News Round-up!

As we culminate another eventful week at UHAB, we’d like to leave you some of the highlights of the week.

  1. Newly published census data illustrates that The Bronx population has grown within the past year. Prior, population numbers dropped significantly from year to year. (About 20 years ago, the population in The Bronx dropped by 20,000 residents per year.) Now, more folk are not only moving into The Bronx, but they are staying in The Bronx as well.  This changing trend is, in part, a response to the lack of affordable housing available in Manhattan and Brooklyn. As time progresses, we are confident that similar trends will continue to emerge.
  2. Months after Hurricane Sandy, homeowners allege that they are still waiting for insurance companies to process their flood insurance claims and, in turn, reimburse them with needed funds to recuperate from the storm. According to the Real Deal, 11,000 out of 57,000 claims are still unresolved. And, the state’s finance department found that New York banks were holding 6,600 checks amounting to $208M. With Hurricane Sandy nearly 5 months behind us, its imperative that FEMA and other government agencies offer homeowners the compensation they need to rebuild their lives.
  3. According to officials, NYCHA is actually AHEAD OF SCHEDULE in their goal to remove the backlog of repair needs by the end of 2013. This has advocates worried that the repairs are shoddily done, in an effort to take care of quantity over quality. The nation’s largest housing authority is at significant risk due to the sequester, as nearly half of its budget comes from the federal government.
  4. Gentrification is continuing to infiltrate Brooklyn. The NY Times published an article illustrating that, like Williamsburg, Boerum Hill, and Park Slope, the neighborhoods of Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, and Bushwick are undergoing significant demographic and, as a result, geographic transformations.  Similar to the changes in The Bronx, affordable housing in the neighborhoods closer to Manhattan have become scarce. As a result, folks are moving deeper into Brooklyn, transforming the market value of rentals and demanding trendy cafes and restaurants. As neighborhoods gentrify rapidly, the need to preserve affordable housing has become dire.
  5. On Saturday, Kimani “Kiki” Gray was killed by police in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. Police allege that the teen was armed and, as a result, they opened fire for protection. Community members are enraged by the police violence, insisting that this was an act of excessive force rooted in racist ideologies. As a response, community members have held a candlelight vigil in protest for the past three evenings. According to police, the protest turned violent and 46 people were arrested. This is one of many acts of police brutality that have gained significant attention within the past few years. Our hearts go out to Kimani’s family and friends.

We will return with more news next week as we welcome the arrival of spring (March 20th)!

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