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Report: 200,000 Affordable Housing Units Lost Across NY State

December 3, 2008

New York, NY — Affordable housing is disappearing in New York, and a new report finds the problem is most severe in the city itself, which lost more than 200,000 affordable units in just three years. The report finds many of the 1.5 million immigrants who have come to New York since the year 2000 are particularly hard hit.

More than half are like Gladys Puglia, a single mother of three from Ecuador, who pays well over half of her income for rent.

"I get paid twice a month; my first check, I have to hold it, so the next check I have to add with my first check to pay the rent — it takes more than 80 percent of it."

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)is calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether loans for affordable housing units in New York were based on "shoddy lending practices." His office has heard concerns that landlords of more than 60,000 apartments for working-class New Yorkers could be in danger of going bankrupt.

Gladys Puglia says somebody has to start looking out for working-class and low-income New Yorkers, because affordable apartments are on the way out in her neighborhood, the Bushwick section of Brooklyn.

"Now, the apartments that used to cost 500, 600, 700 dollars, now they cost 2,800-2,900 dollars. A couple of families moved in, but they already moved out, because they can't afford it. And, now we are probably losing two more buildings from my neighborhood."

The report from the Pratt Center for Community Development also finds that immigrants are more likely to live in overcrowded conditions in New York. The full housing report will be issued today at the headquarters of the New York Immigration Coalition.

Michael Clifford/Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY