New York is facing an affordability crisis that is affecting tenants and small businesses, alike

New York City is facing a severe shortage of affordable housing. More than half of New Yorkers spend more than 30 per cent. of their inome on rent, according to a 2016 study. The City’s response, providing property tax subsidies to luxury real estate developers, has proved controversial — and has only propagated gentrification, according to critics.

Gentrification, tenant harassment by Landlords, the affordability crisis in New York, and other factors contributed to 450,000 evictions filed in New York City between 2013 and 2015, resulting in actual annual evictions of between 25,000 and 30,000, according to a news report.

In an overview of the housing crisis taking place in New York City, the New York Review of Books referred to the affordability crisis as a “humanitarian emergency,” noting that the most visible consequence of the large-scale “displacement of populations” was the spike in homelessness. However, the Government policies that are driving gentrification are also causing apartments to fall out of the rent-regulation system that is particular to New York. Property tax abatements and rezonings have made luxury apartment construction lucrative for developers, and the gentrification that this building boom causes leads to secondary displacement of tenants as neighborhoods become increasingly expensive.

The affordability crisis is also affecting small businesses, which are presently not offered any rent regulation protections. When small businesses face lease renewals, they can be confronted with rent spikes that amount to a doubling, tripling, or even a quadrupling of their rent, leading to an endless spree of small business closings. The closings of notable small businesses have been documented by the blog, Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York. For decades, advocates for small businesses have been calling for passage of rent protections for small businesses.

What we need is a comprehensive Municipal strategy in New York City to prevent any eviction. Nobody should be dispossessed of their apartment or their small business due to extortions of rent by Landlords.