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Housing Starts: Vacancy on the Lower East Side | Segregation in U.S. Cities | NYCHA Repairs

Housing Starts | March 25th 2014

(Credit:Brian Rose and Edward Fausty, New York Times)

  1. They kept a Lower East Side lot vacant for decades. Their battleground was some 20 barren acres along the southern side of Delancey Street, where, in 1967, the city leveled blocks of rundown apartment buildings. More than 1,800 low-income families, largely Puerto Rican, were sent packing and promised a chance to return to new apartments someday. Now, nearly 50 years later, the land is still a fallow stretch of weed- and rat-ridden parking lots, though in the waning days of the Bloomberg administration, the city announced that the land would finally be developed into a complex called Essex Crossing, to include retail markets, restaurants, office and cultural space. And new apartments. [The New York Times – 03/21/14]
  2. The U.S. cities where the poor are most segregated from everyone else. This increasing concentration of poverty poses a host of problems to communities. Less advantaged communities suffer not just from a lack of economic resources but from everything from higher crime and drop-out rates to higher rates of infant mortality and chronic disease. In his classic The Truly Disadvantaged, William Julius Wilson called attention to the deleterious social effects that go along with the spatial concentration of poverty, which ‘include the kinds of ecological niches that the residents of these neighborhoods occupy in terms of access to jobs and job networks, availability of marriageable partners, involvement in quality schools, and exposure to conventional role models. [The Atlantic Cities – 03/24/14]
  3. Hurricane-damaged boilers will be replaced in New York public housing. But under a deal between federal and city agencies that was announced Sunday, all 110 public housing buildings that have been relying on temporary boilers to serve 8,862 apartments will be getting new boilers, with the process expected to begin within six months. Under the terms of the $100 million agreement, federal funds will be used to reimburse the city’s financially stretched public housing authority for the costs of the temporary boilers as well as the new ones. [The New York Times – 03/23/14]
  4. The sequester and the homeless. The across-the-board cuts to federal programs that took effect last spring receded from the headlines after Republicans were shamed into allowing the government to pay its bills. But the cuts, known as the sequester, continue to take a toll on crucial housing programs that are intended to shield the elderly, the disabled and impoverished families with children from homelessness. [The New York Times – 03/22/14]
  5. Here’s how the Hudson Yards platform will be constructed. The platform, which will weigh 37,000 tons and cover 30 tracks between 30th and 34th Streets, will support three of the first four towers rising as part of phase one. It involves drilling 250 concrete caissons into the bedrock below the rails, and all the while, the trains will keep on running in and out of Penn Station. It’s an incredible and complicated feat of engineering, but Related sent out the above video and some helpful graphics (after the jump) to explain the process to the masses. [Curbed NY – 03/19/14]
  6. De Blasio taps Raleigh chief planner as NYC’s new parks commissioner. Silver’s first goal, which he addressed at Friday’s conference, falls in line with de Blasio’s'Tale of Two Cities’ campaign platform: He wants to tackle inequality in city parks. ‘After meeting with the mayor, hearing his vision for New York and his desire to have a park system that was equitable, innovative, healthy and safe,’ Silver said, ‘he had me at ‘hello.’ [Next City – 03/24/14]
  7. U.S. housing regulator says former chief DeMarco to leave in April. DeMarco led the Federal Housing Finance Agency in an acting capacity from 2009 until January, when Mel Watt, an Obama administration appointee and former North Carolina congressman, was sworn in as director. DeMarco had often been criticized by housing advocates and Democratic lawmakers for refusing to let Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac cut debt for borrowers whose mortgages exceeded the value of their homes. Simultaneously, he earned praise from Republican lawmakers for improving the bottom line at the two government-controlled companies. [Reuters – 03/24/14]
  8. Rising interest rates slow down housing sales.  The super-low mortgage rates that tens of millions of Americans locked in during the refinancing boom are now discouraging many of these borrowers from buying another home and giving up those loans. [The Washington Post – 03/22/14]
  9. NYC’s affordable housing goals helped and hindered by landmarks. Historic districts are an inextricable part of the fabric of New York City, but they present yet another hurdle for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious goal to build and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing in the next decade. Nearly a third of Manhattan has already been designated historic districts-a status which some have said deters the construction of affordable housing-while other neighborhoods push for the same designation in large swaths. [The Epoch Times – 03/22/14]
  10. Displaced Auburn shelter kids bused to class at Fort Greene’s P.S. 67. The New York Times published a series in December exposing conditions at The Auburn Family Residence including mold, vermin and the presence of sexual predators, and in response the city removed 42 families from the Fort Greene homeless shelter in February and another 64 will be removed by late June, the paper reported. A Department of Homeless Services spokeswoman said that each Auburn shelter family is connected to a Department of Education liason who ‘is on-site to help [them] with a variety of issues including enrollment, transfers, truancy efforts, transportation, and need for supplies. [DNAinfo – 03/24/14]
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