Several pieces of bad news this week.
- Rent is really expensive in New York. July’s average rent – over $3000 – represents a nearly 9% jump from average rent in July 2012. While rents go up inevitably over time, we believe the Bloomberg administration is implicated in making the city a less affordable place to live, partially through pro-development housing policies that accelerate gentrification and leave low income people (like those living in NYCHA or in homeless shelters) out to dry. This wouldn’t be so bad if wages were rising at a comparable pace as rents, but…
- …this week, the NYS Supreme Court struck down last year’s prevailing wage bill. This is a major disappointment in a climate where stagnant wages have pushed more and more New Yorkers into poverty.
- Last week, we posted about Richmond, California and that city’s plan to use eminent domain to seize and refinance underwater mortgages. This week, investors and bankers including Deutche Bank, Black Rock Capital, Wells Fargo, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac sued the city. (A move Richmond officials were expecting.) Richmond’s plan is probably the boldest, most progressive framework to address the persistent foreclosure crisis coming out of any government entity right now. (Washington continues to present thoroughly disappointing ideas.) I guess if that crowd of people is suing you, you’re probably doing something right.
A piece of good news this week:
A long and interesting read:
- Urban theorists/urbanists/people who study cities are pretty harsh on the topic of gentrification: it destabilizes communities, it is displacement, and it often – for lack of a better phrase – “white washes” neighborhoods. Paul Schlichtman and Jason Patch have published an article contending that few groups are more hypocritical than urbanists discussing gentrification. They call on their colleagues to take a more nuanced and self-aware view of the issue. As organizers who organize against gentrification, we just call on everyone (gentrifiers or not) to participate in their communities, stand against hyper development and displacement, and support low income tenants and affordable housing. Don’t let banks and billionaires and landlords win.
Okay, have a great weekend! Watch out as political posturing and campaigning starts to get real crazy. Remember to register to vote by Friday, August 16th if you want to vote in the primary. It’s important!
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