We have previously written about how Brooklyn has been at the epicenter of the housing problem here. Well, the issues still continue. Affordable housing is becoming a big problem in Brooklyn as the trend of gentrification carries on.Originally, the idea of putting affluent housing in areas of Brooklyn where people would never walk at night was supposed to spur development throughout the borough of all kinds of other housing projects. But as time has gone by, the gentrification is getting more prevalent and the families that used to make up the population of Brooklyn are finding it harder and harder to keep a roof over their heads.
How Gentrification Is Taking Place In Brooklyn
It wasn’t that long ago that the Forest City-Barclays Arena residential construction project in Brooklyn was approved for 2,250 total units by 2025. The housing advocates in Brooklyn had high hopes for that project and many pointed to the project as the start of something wonderful for low-income housing in Brooklyn. By the middle of 2016, around 600 of those affordable housing units were under construction. However, only 33 percent of them are being considered for low-income families. The rest of the units will go to families that make $100,000 per year or more in income.
New York City, in general, is experiencing an affordable housing problem, but the issue is much more pronounced in Brooklyn. From 2002 to 2014, the number of homeless people in New York City jumped from 31,000 to 53,000. During this time, developers were being given incentives to build affluent housing in Brooklyn. Affluent housing was meant to help rehabilitate some of the more dangerous and run-down neighborhoods. The result has been the displacement of thousands of Brooklyn low income families. This displacement is one of the main reasons the number of homeless people in the entire city has ballooned over the past decade.
Brooklyn used to be the kind of place where families could afford to live and be close to their jobs in other boroughs. Now, as gentrification has started to take over, the low income families are being forced to watch as they are evicted from their apartments to make way for luxury residential accommodations. Developers and property owners see the growing trend of affluent and trendy property owners making their way into Brooklyn, and those developers want to cash in. In order to cash in on the new gentrification trend, the residents who have been in Brooklyn for decades have to be displaced.
Could There Be A Heading Back To Tenements?
As the gap between affordable and luxury housing widens, the families being displaced by gentrification are being forced to live in parts of the city that are still run-down and dangerous. Due to the influx of new tenants to these areas, landlords are raising rents without making improvements to the properties. Many activists fear that the regional gentrification in Brooklyn is creating tenements in other parts of the city, and that means big problems for city officials.
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has promised to create 200,000 new affordable housing units over the next decade. The city is rezoning parts of Brooklyn to offer tax breaks and incentives to developers who create affordable housing that includes families that make less than $50,000 per year and, in some cases, families that make less than $30,000 per year.
The city has a 1,200 unit affordable housing project earmarked for Brooklyn that it hopes to get off the ground in the next year. All in all, New York City wants to invest around $267 million in some of the low income areas of Brooklyn that are suffering under the weight of regional gentrification. The city wants to put new schools, playgrounds, and security features into various parts of Brooklyn to help ease the fear of rising crime in these areas.
Low Income Housing Becoming A Dangerous Problem
While Mayor de Blasio tries to improve conditions in the areas of Brooklyn where low income housing is becoming a dangerous problem, the gentrified neighborhoods are expanding and they are not interested in helping the city to find new homes for displaced low income families.
A good case to examine is the proposed remodeling of the New York Loft Hostel in Brooklyn from a chic hotel into a 140-bed homeless shelter. The city did not make any grand announcements about the plans, and the meeting held with residents was held in a boxing training facility in the heart of the newly gentrified area. Despite city attempts to downplay the project, Brooklyn residents showed up in numbers to protest.
The issue that residents have is the potential for a rise in crime and a lowering of property values if one homeless shelter were to be put right in the middle of a gentrified neighborhood. Despite the assurances of city officials that there would be ample security for the facility, the residents indicated that they did not want the homeless shelter anywhere near their new businesses or their high rent apartments.
The outrage of these new Brooklyn residents to the presence of a homeless shelter underscores exactly what has been going on in Brooklyn over the past decade or so. It was not that long ago that the people of Brooklyn would have welcomed a facility that would help displaced residents to have a place to stay and get back on their feet. But with gentrification in full swing, the idea of potentially lowering property values to help out fellow Brooklyn residents is not going over so well.
The Trend Is Expanding Beyond Brooklyn
Gentrification looks like it could be spilling over into East New York as well, which would expand the problems Brooklyn is having. Developers are being allowed to create luxury housing without the need to develop affordable housing. The result of this is that now people in East New York are being displaced in much the same way they were in Brooklyn.
Construction And Gentrification
In 1979, the New York State Supreme Court ruled that New York City is bound by law to offer affordable housing to people who need it. But ever since that ruling, the trend in New York City has been towards gentrification. In Brooklyn, low income families who have lived in their neighborhoods for generations found themselves displaced in lieu of expensive high-rise apartments, and the homeless problem got worse.
With the homeless population in Brooklyn rising, the city is doing what it can to step in and create affordable housing for the people who need it. Since the city is now bound by a court ruling to provide for low income housing needs, it has been scrambling to put together plans that will actually work and stop the growing trend of gentrification.
But even with rezoning and incentives, developers are finding ways to create new housing that is set aside almost exclusively for high income tenants. As more affordable housing gets turned into luxury housing, families are finding themselves out on the streets or living in conditions that were supposed to have been corrected decades ago. At some point, Brooklyn is going to have to make a stand and provide for the affordable housing needs of its residents. If this is not rectified Brooklyn could be looking at a homeless crisis, unlike anything it has ever seen before.