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Rendering of proposed waterfront development in Lower Concourse

New York State Comptroller, Tom DiNapoli released a report today which tells us what we already knew in the Bronx: That there is an affordable housing crisis in our borough.

According to the report, “Incomes and housing costs vary regionally statewide and are generally higher in the New York City metropolitan area, although housing affordability is a statewide challenge. Bronx County, for example, had the highest proportion of renters with housing costs of 30 percent or more of income in 2012, at nearly 58 percent.”

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It’s no secret that Bronxites are struggling to make ends meet and even though the Bronx saw some of the highest numbers of new construction affordable housing units in the city, rising rents and stagnant income are keeping many of our residents in a perpetual cycle of poverty.

Just a few weeks ago Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr unveiled a $500 million plan to develop the waterfront I’m the Lower Concourse Rezoning District stretching from 138th Street to 149th Street.

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Lower Concourse Rezoning District and Waterfront

While the South Bronx can use a more diverse income base, it is imperative that  development in this zone and along the waterfront include a healthy combination of mixed low and middle income to address this crisis.

This is a perfect opportunity for Ruben Diaz Jr to come up with an innovative development plan that will address both sides of the issue. The need for affordable housing in the the Bronx has never been greater and the Lower Concourse Rezoning District is in a unique position to ameliorate the situation since it is a 30 block area with only a couple of residential buildings.

All that land can easily accommodate thousands of new units WITHOUT having the need to exclude the most vulnerable which are the low and middle class of our borough.

In DiNapoli’s press release today, it goes on to say:

“Regardless of where they live, more New Yorkers are feeling pinched by rising housing costs,”DiNapoli said. “When half your income goes to pay for a place to live, you are going to be stretched thin on other every day purchases. This unfortunate trend has troubling implications for our economic growth and for New Yorkers’quality of life.”

DiNapoli’s report evaluates New York state housing affordability trends from 2000 to 2012 using U.S. Census Bureau data. The federal government describes affordable housing costs as being below 30 percent of household income. Statewide, more than 3 million households are at or above the affordability threshold of 30 percent of household income.

Let’s hope that our borough president heeds the details of this report carefully when he works on luring developers to our waterfront.

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