Residents of East New York and Cypress Hills face the ‘highest’ level of housing displacement risk in the city, according to the Equitable Development Data Explorer.
The new interactive tool developed by the Department of City Planning and the Department of Housing and Preservation was launched this week with the goal to “better equip New Yorkers with data that can facilitate challenging conversations about housing affordability, racial equity, displacement, and many other issues related to the future of New York City and its neighborhood,” the agencies said.
East Brooklyn Neighborhoods Cypress Hills and East New York are among several neighborhoods in the city ranked as having the “highest” level of displacement risk, according to the tool’s Displacement Risk Map, which ranks neighborhoods on a 5-point scale from lowest to highest risk of displacement.
The tool includes demographic information including the racial makeup of neighborhoods, education levels, public health indicators, quality of life and more.
The population of East New York and Cypress Hills is overwhelmingly non-white. According to the data, which sources its information from the census and public surveys, 98.3% of East New York residents are nonwhite, and in Cypress Hills, 97.4% of residents are non-white. In East New York, 75% of housing units are renter occupied.
Many familiar with the area are not surprised by the neighborhood’s ranking. Maria Ducasse, a Cypress Hills resident of 13 years, says she’s been priced out of her apartment after her building came under new ownership, raising her rent by $500.
“The only time we hear anything from the landlord is at the beginning of the month when it’s time to collect the rent,” said Ducasse, who says her building has fallen into various states of disrepair, including faulty fire alarms and unkempt common areas.
HPD sees its new tool as a step in the right direction toward an East Brooklyn that is affordable for current residents. “Preservation is an essential tool for protecting the City’s affordable housing stock and ensuring it is available for the next generation of families,” HPD said in an emailed statement to BK Reader, where it emphasized its work in the 2016 rezoning of East New York, calling it a “tremendous success.”
“HPD committed to financing only 100% affordable housing projects in the ENY rezoning area. Since the East New York rezoning, 1,200 new affordable homes have been completed or are under construction with 3,900 in the pipeline.”
But community members in East New York are disillusioned with the new developments and question their affordability.
“The city needs to be doing more to ensure deeper levels of affordability in these developments,” said Alexa Sloan, a coordinator for the Coalition of Community Advancement, an East New York coalition that organizes for economic and housing justice.
Sloan says many the Black and Brown homeowners in East New York could face foreclosure due to the economic strain of the pandemic, limiting affordable rent options for tenants. Since the eviction moratorium was lifted, Property Shark research shows 40% of foreclosures — a total of 35 – have been in Brooklyn, the most of any borough in the city.
“The cheapest [monthly rent] you can find in our neighborhood is like $1,900,” Ducasse said. “It’s a very it’s a low-income neighborhood. So those prices are pretty tough.”
Rene Arlain, Director of Housing Counseling at Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, has seen some disturbing trends in displacement in recent years.
“Over the last two and a half years, we’ve seen lots more signs and flyers and posters of people looking to rent rooms, apartments, basements,” said Arlain. “That simply tells me that you know, folks are getting forced out or pushed out.”
The City’s new tool has been launched with the support of the Racial Impact Study Coalition, a group instrumental in last year’s passing of Local Law 78 of 2021, which requires a racial impact report for new land use applications.
“This data mapping confirms what we know: to build stable neighborhoods, we need stable people, stable housing, and stable housing markets that enhance choice for all households,” RISC said in a statement. The group also said the City should seek to improve the tool over time with community feedback.
“Our goal here is to develop strategies that allow us to deliver more housing and jobs while also protecting ourselves and our neighbors from displacement,” said Dan Garodnick, Director of the DCP.
“We want your input to make sure this still-in-development digital data tool can help us build a more equitable future.”
Make a Donation
BK Reader is brought to you for free daily. Please consider supporting independent local news by making a donation here. Whether it is $1 or $100, no donation is too big or too small!