In New York City where you live plays an enormous role in determining the opportunities and public resources available to you. As Hurricane Sandy demonstrated starkly, location of residence also determines the extent to which you are asked to bear risk and other regional burdens. While some neighborhoods offer access to excellent public schools, well maintained parks, grocery stores with fresh food, safe streets, health-care facilities and public transportation, others have few or none of these. Sadly it is often the low-income, minority and immigrant families in New York City most in need of the best public resources that have least access to them.
New York Appleseed advocates for equity of access and fair allocation of resources to schools and neighborhoods in New York City and its greater metropolitan area. There is important work to be done to ensure that government programs offer lower-income families the ability to live in existing high-opportunity neighborhoods and suburban communities through policies that “affirmatively further” fair housing. Yet the pace and intensity of gentrification within New York City mean that groups like New York Appleseed must also work to ensure that lower-income residents have the option to remain in rapidly changing neighborhoods. Smart policy can mitigate the often destabilizing effects of gentrification – allowing longtime residents to remain in neighborhoods that are on their way to becoming higher-opportunity areas.
To address this issue, New York Appleseed has coordinated research around strategies to preserve affordable housing in rapidly gentrifying areas:
- In 2013 New York Appleseed worked with volunteers at Nixon Peabody to produce Preserving Affordable Units in Rapidly Gentrifying Neighborhoods: Strategies to Prevent Displacement. This manual compiles known strategies for preserving affordable housing in New York City’s rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods – tools currently available and tools available only in other jurisdictions that community-based groups, legislators and policy makers may wish to consider.
- Also in 2013 New York Appleseed worked with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Latham & Watkins to analyze New York City’s voluntary inclusionary housing program and programs around the country. Councilmember Brad Lander featured New York Appleseed’s research in an important report on the performance of this voluntary program.