Another Housing Solution: Fill the Apartments

by Whitney Kimball on April 24, 2014 Newswire

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Report confirms the poor are fucked. Comptroller Scott Stringer has released a report on New York City’s crazy rents, and found that prices have risen by 75 percent since 2000, making it virtually unlivable for people making $40k or less. (Donate!) Annoyingly, in an interview with Crain’s, Stringer declined to blame Bloomberg policies, but simply acknowledged that “Some of the data is obviously chilling.”

As a part of the solution, the report recommends reforming the rent regulation system. Stringer has also mentioned Bill de Blasio’s plan to force developers to include below-market units in residential projects which require zoning changes. “But in no way, in my view, would that yield enough to make a dent in the housing crisis we face,” Crain’s quotes him.

There is yet another, stupidly obvious, solution, which doesn’t necessarily end in more mixed-use condo buildings. We could fill units and lots deliberately kept vacant by real estate companies. Picture the Homeless, an activist group run by the homeless, has gathered extensive data on this and found that, as of 2011, the city’s 53,615 people living on the streets and in shelters (including 22,712 children) could have been housed five times over. Picture the Homeless’s report concludes that “The staggering volume of empty buildings and lots that we identified causes major harm on all aspects of city life.”

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