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Over 70 percent of Bronx residents are at risk of displacement: study

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Housing is becoming harder to find for low-income New Yorkers

Residents of the Bronx are more likely to get priced out of their neighborhoods than New Yorkers in any other borough. According to a new study from the Regional Plan Association, households in 71 percent of the borough’s census tracts are at risk of impending displacement.

Bluntly titled “Pushed Out: Housing Displacement in an Unaffordable Region,” the RPA report examines shifting demographics in 31 counties across the tristate area. And though displacement is hardly a Bronx-specific crisis — surging housing prices, stagnant wages, and a general housing shortage ensures the phenomenon in widespread—the borough is hit by far the hardest. Brooklyn is next, with households in 55 percent of tracts in danger. (Manhattan and Queens are somewhat more stable at 31 percent; at 15 percent, Staten Island isn’t immune either, but it’s closer.)

The report explains the data: between 2000 and 2015, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens all saw declines in the number of “very low-income households” residing in each borough (that is, households with an income under $25K unprotected by Section-8 or NYCHA public housing). They also all saw declines in the number of households earning less than $100,000/year. Where they saw growth? The number of households making more than $100,000/year.

In the Bronx, though, growth came “almost exclusively” from people making less than $50,000/year. But, the report says, the borough’s “large amount of walkable, job-accessible neighborhoods” means that’s poised to change in the near future. Forty-four percent of the tracts at risk are already seeing a shift toward pricier housing, with neighborhoods like Port Morris, Concourse Village, and Van Nest the hardest hit. In other words: there’s still displacement in the Bronx because, unlike a lot of Manhattan and Brooklyn, there’s still someone left to displace.

In the Bronx, 56 percent of households qualify as “rent burdened”—putting more than 30 percent of their income toward housing—and 36 percent of households bring home less than $25K annually. At the same time, DNAInfo points out, the New York Times named it one of the hottest travel destination of 2017.

Not that it’s hopeless. The RPA outlines a number of strategies, that, taken together, could help combat displacement, not just in the Bronx but throughout the city. Their recommendations include more rent regulations, new low-income housing subsidies, and earmarking vacant government-owned land for permanently affordable housing.