Newly uncovered report finds ties between city’s affordable housing policy and segregation

Posted On Tue, July 16, 2019 By

Posted On Tue, July 16, 2019 By In affordable housing, City Living, Policy

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Following years of efforts to keep a report about segregation in the city’s affordable housing lottery system under wraps, a federal court ruling finally led to the report’s release on Monday. As the New York Times first reported, the findings, written by Queens College sociology professor Andrew A. Beveridge, found unequivocal racial disparities at every stage of the process and in every community district where a majority of residents are of one race or ethnicity.

Beveridge’s report was compiled on behalf of a lawsuit filed by three Black women from Brooklyn and Queens–represented by Craig Gurian of the non-profit Anti-Discrimination Center—who argue they didn’t get a fair chance to win affordable apartments through the lottery process. The lawsuit challenges a city policy that has been in effect since the 1980s and expanded during the Bloomberg administration, giving local residents 50 percent of available units in affordable housing lotteries.

After looking at over seven million lottery applications for 168 different lotteries from 2012 to 2017 and comparing that information to census data, Beveridge found that the majority group in any community always comes out with an advantage. African-Americans faced overwhelming disadvantages in primarily White and Latino neighborhoods, while Latinos were impacted in majority African-American communities. “The allocation of affordable housing units perpetuates segregation more (and allows integration less) than what would be the case without the policy,” Beveridge writes.

Though she admitted the policy would not be her first choice in a deposition last year, Deputy mayor for housing and urban development Vicki Been staunchly rejected the idea that city policies exacerbate residential segregation. “Segregation is a question of choice, and people who chose to live in a neighborhood, we believe, should be able to choose to stay in a neighborhood,” she said in an interview with the Times. “We shouldn’t be telling people you have to move to some other neighborhood. If they fear displacement, they will oppose the housing, and the only way that we get a more integrated city is if we have more affordable housing across a wider range of neighborhoods.”

“That view is profoundly ahistorical, contradicts every study of African-American residential preferences that has been performed, and makes no sense in a crowded City where any claim that a neighborhood is for ‘our group’ is necessarily a claim that the neighborhood is not for other groups,” Gurian said in a direct response to Been’s statement.

[Via New York Times]





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