Friday News Round-Up

Happy day-after-Thanksgiving. Here’s a Friday round-up, which is, again, Sandy-heavy.

  1. Unsurprisingly, as we related last week, the stom worsened the increasingly dire shelter shortage in New York City. This week, officials closed all evacuation centers save two on Staten Island.
  2. A few weeks old now, but still important: Housing officials are working with New York City landlords to address the housing shortage in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. This is an interesting idea that we will pay close attention to. Obviously, it introduces questions to the issues of rent regulation and income restricted housing. How long will Sandy victims stay in temporary housing, what can landlords reasonably charge for rents (how can we insure it is affordable?), and how can we insure that these temporary tenants have the same rights as any tenant living in an apartment?
  3. The post-Sandy housing problem continues to magnify, with officials this week announcing that at least 200 homes will be need to be demolished as a result of the storm. This is in addition to the 100s of homes that have already been destroyed, and with at least 500 partially damaged houses still requiring inspection. According to the NY Times, no decisions have been made about rebuilding in the storm-battered areas, a question that is further complicated by the fact that current building codes will likely prohibit rebuilding of some of the half-century old bungalows.
  4. Ocean Village, a long-distressed housing complex in the Rockaways, has been purchased by L+M Development Partners. This is good news for a complex that City Limits describes as “reeling even before the storm.” Of course, the storm has made things in O.V. much worse, and a takeover by a responsible affordable housing developer such as L+M could not have come at a better time for the much beleaguered residents of the complex, which consists of 11 high-rise buildings. In August, L+M outlined plans to acquire and renovate the complex with a construction loan from NYC’s Housing Development Corp. for $110,000,000. The units will remain 100% affordable for low-to-moderate income New Yorkers and the buildings will retain project based Sec. 8 contracts.
  5. And our only non-Sandy news: according to a recently released study from The Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at NYU, a rise in foreclosures could contribute to a rise in crime after all. This information is coming after an earlier study, released in August, which found no correlation between the two things.

We hope that our readers had a great Thanksgiving in safe and affordable housing! We’ll be back on Monday.


Friday News Round-Up!

It’s Friday! You know what to expect:

  1. The New York Daily News continues to lambast NYCHA in the press. But the City Council is fighting back – declaring the campaign against the agency ill-informed and careless. Rosie Mendez and her colleagues in the council have argued that the cash reserves are both smaller than billions NYDN claims, and that they are reserved only for major capital improvements – i.e., using them to fix a leaky faucet would get all the funds revoked by the federal government. All the same, Mayor Bloomberg has announced that the agency will be restructured. NYCHA is the largest public housing authority in North America and is one of the only American housing authorities remaining after many were dismantled in the 1990s and early 2000s. (Politicker, New York Times)
  2. Thousands and thousands of DREAMers showed up at a deferred action event in Chicago this week, the largest crowd in the country. Undocumented people seeking freedom from fear of arrest began to arrive as early as last Tuesday evening. Wednesday was the first day to apply for Obama’s new policy, announced via executive order, that would allow thousands of young immigrants freedom increased access to work permits, study permits, and reprieve from deportation. Ilian Claudio, 19, described the event in Chicago as “A new beginning. A gate is opening.” (Huffington Post)
  3. The foreclosure crisis that continues to ravage the country has had an immense number of negative effects. The number of American’s living in poverty has increased, as well as the number of homeless Americans. High unemployment. Several studies suggest that foreclosure has a negative effect on school performance. Et cetera. But despite anecdotal evidence that suggests crime associated with foreclosure is a national problem, a study in the Social Science Quarterly has found little empirical evidence that the foreclosure crisis has influenced rates of violent and property crime. (The Atlantic Cities)
  4. Evelyn Konrad of Southhampton is fighting against a zoning code change that allows supersized homes in her town. She claims the Mayor is catering favor with his Wall Street buddies, and has already spent nearly $100,000 of her own life savings on the suit. Lone Star Funds CEO Donald Quintin for having a house that is egregiously large. We’re standing with Evelyn! And if Mr. Quintin’s house in the Hamptons is so big, we know about 900 angry tenants who would like to come over for dinner. (The Real Deal)
  5. Two UHAB-monitored co-ops are in the news today for having the two cheapest NYC Real Estate listings of the week. (546 W. 156th Street and 521 W. 151st Street, both in Hamilton Heights.) The good news: at least we’re doing our job of keeping the co-op option affordable. The bad news (or the-news-that-was-left-out): the article in The Real Deal, though it mentions they are “fully renovated co-ops,” does not mention that they are also limited equity, income restricted. Speculators move on! (The Real Deal)

Here are the also-rans for this week’s news roundup: the “public” is clamoring for a picture of Paul Ryan topless (not this public!), Andrew Cuomo has called yet another thing historic (yogurt), and strip clubs in Florida can’t wait for the RNC to arrive. Questionable choices, all around. Have a great weekend, from UHAB Organizing!