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Nowhere to Go: A Crisis of Affordability in the Bronx

May 1, 2013

The state of affordability in the Bronx has Nowhere to Go - the Bronx is in a full out crisis of affordability. New data reveals that more than half of all households in Bronx Community District 5 now pay more than 50% of their income on rent, something unprecedented in the history of New York City. This trend of percent of income spent on rent cannot go any higher without a significant increase in overcrowding and homelessness.Economic hardships and the housing affordability gap are well documented nationally, and are especially acute in the Bronx. About half of all renters nationally, and nearly two-thirds of renters in the Bronx, live in unaffordable housing, and both of those numbers are increasing. The legacy of redlining and disinvestment has had an enormous impact on the Bronx and contributed to poor housing conditions and poverty. Reinvestment work starting in the 1970s thwarted the threats for planned shrinkage in the Bronx and created the housing that became home to immigrants and others seeking to live in New York City. Just as community-led reinvestment by the public and private sectors transformed the old Bronx, investment is still needed today to preserve the new Bronx. Investment is especially needed in the low wage workers that keep the five boroughs running so that these workers can afford to live and thrive in New York City.The report Nowhere to Go: A Crisis of Affordability in the Bronx highlights trends in the data to explain the current economic situation in the Bronx and to help inform policy decisions from a community based perspective. The report was presented at our 30th Anniversary Forum on May 1st, 2013. Panelists at the forum included John Reilly, Executive Director of Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation; Christa Meyers, Senior Director of Research, Evaluation & Planning with the District Public Health Offices at the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene; and Nick Iuviene and Yorman Nuñez from the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative.

Creating a Bronx Economy: Banking Options and Alternative Solutions

April 24, 2012

On April 24, 2012, the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice at Fordham University, the Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center, and UNHP hosted the forum "Creating a Bronx Economy: Banking Options and Alternative Solutions" including the report "Banking in the Bronx: Assessing options in a historically redlined and underbanked borough."Despite the many success stories of our borough in the last 35 years, redlining has left a lasting legacy in the proliferation of high-cost fringe financial services and the lowest concentration of bank branches of any county in the nation. As the gap between the very wealthy and everyone else grows nationally, lower income communities are struggling to survive in an economy that does not work in their interest. The forum and accompanying report focused on current banking practices in the Bronx and potential solutions. As part of a larger movement for social justice in the Bronx, the forum was attended by government leaders, clergy, and neighborhood groups. Attendees participated in a breakout session where the issues raised at the forum were further discussed.

The Bronx Banking Guide

April 24, 2012

UNHP published The Bronx Banking Guide to help residents find an affordable and convenient banking option.

New York City's Multifamily Housing in Distress

April 28, 2011

Examines real estate and demographic trends in the Bronx and levels of physical and financial distress among multi-family properties by neighborhood, type of property, and lender using Building Indicator Project data on violations, liens, and mortgages.

The Red Zone

June 9, 2009

Time after time, the Bronx ranks highest in many negative demographic, housing and social indicators. These neighborhoods are highlighted in crimson on comparative NYC maps, earning the moniker, the "Red Zone."The UNHP report Envisioning the Future of the Red Zone finds that despite the negative indicators, these same neighborhoods are at the epicenter of widespread community based revitalization efforts. These neighborhoods also provide much of the City's affordable housing in the form of privately owned rent stabilized properties with relatively low rents.Panelists from local community groups, housing agencies, and the private sector led the discussion of the Red Zone at UNHP's 2009 forum. To address the negative indicators and what they mean going forward, the discussion focused on ways institutions, lenders, public agencies and community groups responsible for the successful community development efforts of the past three decades can work together to envision a future for the Red Zone.