Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Wednesday is the big tenants demonstration around Stuyvesant Town. There will be all sorts of tenants advocacy groups and tenants unions there. The newest tenants union, UNYTE will be there at 14th & 1st Ave., 5pm.

UNYTE is organizing tenants at the grass roots -- a tenants union of, by and for tenants, completely democratic in form and substance. I've got high hopes for it. Tenants need an independent voice all their own. They need their own organized numbers to speak for them.

What's happening to housing in the city is shocking even by New York standards. From City Limits:
"This past October, Metropolitan Life Insurance sold Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, containing 11,250 units, to Tishman Speyer for $5.4 billion – the largest housing transaction in American history. In the seven months since, the new owners have doubled and tripled rents of many apartments.

In December, investors put Starrett City on the block. Starrett is the Unites States’ largest federally subsidized apartment complex, home to nearly 12,000 poor and working-class New Yorkers. The price was similarly staggering – $1.3 billion, or $221,000 an apartment, in a community where the average annual income is around $22,000."
Take a look at the statistics
NYC lost 9,272 stabilized units in 2005, a 50% increase over 2002 (NYC Rent Guidelines Board)
The number of median-income affordable units fell from 58% to 48% (Furman Center, NYU)
Median rent increased by 20% while median income fell by 6.3% between 2002 and 2005 (Furman)
For the first time in history the median share of income spent on rent has exceeded the 30% maximum burden a family should bear (Furman)
Low income unsubsidized renters now pay over 50% of their income in rent, up from 43.9% in 2002 (Furman)
Homelessness increased by 11% last year, by 17% among families (Coalition for the Homeless)

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