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Minorities experience ‘vast inequality’ in NYC housing market: study

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When it comes to quality of life and availability of housing, minorities are struggling

A new study conducted by the City of New York (CUNY) Institute for State and Local Governance (ISLG) has analyzed areas of “vast inequality” in New York City across a wide range of areas that include education, health, and—of pertinence to Curbed readers—housing. The report gives insight into how various groups fare when it comes to equal access in housing, and unsurprisingly, the findings aren’t exactly good.

The detailed study, titled Equality Indicators, dissects various aspects of inequality, such as which ethnic groups are more likely to be severely rent burdened, or which groups are least likely to own homes. The report is robust and stat-heavy, but here are some key points:

  • Individuals or families spending more than half of their income on rent are considered to be severely rent burdened. In New York City, nearly three in 10 renters fall into this category.
  • Minorities, immigrants, the LGBT community, and disabled New Yorkers are disproportionately affected.
  • Hispanic and Asian New Yorkers are most likely to be severely rent burdened, with 30.1 and 29.7 percent of each group experiencing that problem, respectively. Nearly 30 percent of African Americans experience the problem, while only 22.7 percent of whites do.
  • Disabled individuals are more likely to be rent burdened than those without a disability.

The statistics for homeownership just as unsettling. According to the report, Hispanics are least likely to own homes (only 15 percent of Hispanic New Yorkers currently do) while 43 percent of white New Yorkers do own homes, giving them the best chance of doing so.

Additionally, the denial rate for a home purchase loan for African Americans floats close to 17 percent, but for white applicants it’s around 12 percent, even though whites average about five times more home loan applications. On that same note, LGBT individuals and families are only 31 percent more likely to own homes in comparisons to heterosexuals, who have a 41 percent chance.

Quality of life is also a concern for those living close to or below the poverty line, with low-income New Yorkers reporting more concerns with vermin, heat and hot water problems than their middle- and high-income counterparts.

Despite Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to create more affordable housing to address the city’s crisis, the question on what “affordable” really means continues to linger while gentrification in numerous neighborhoods makes living expenses even more unbearable for the community members already in place.