More Than Half Of New Yorkers Are One Paycheck Away From Homelessness, Says Study
by Gaby Del Valle in Gothamist.com Nov 26, 2016 3:00 pm
More than half of all New Yorkers don't have enough money saved to cover them in the event of a lost job, medical emergency, or other disaster, according to a new report by the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development.
Nearly 60 percent of New Yorkers lack the emergency savings necessary to cover at least three months' worth of household expenses including food, housing, and rent, but that statistic isn't spread evenly across the five boroughs.
The Bronx has the highest rate of families without adequate emergency savings: in Mott Haven, Melrose, Hunts Point, Longwood, Highbridge, South Concourse, University Heights, Fordham, Belmont, and East Tremont, 75 percent of families have inadequate emergency savings. The Staten Island neighborhoods of Tottenville and Great Kills have the lowest rate, with just 41 percent of families lacking the funds necessary to cover three months' worth of expenses.Without these savings, families who face emergencies could be at risk of eviction, foreclosure, damaged credit, and even homelessness.
In Brooklyn, families in Brownsville (70%), Bed-Stuy (67%), Bushwick (68%), East New York (67%), and South Crown Heights/Prospect Heights (67%) are the most at-risk—in Manhattan, an average of 67 percent of families in Harlem, Washington Heights, and Inwood lack necessary savings.
In Queens, the neighborhoods with the highest percentage of these households were Elmhurst/Corona (64%), Rockaway/Broad Channel (60%), Sunnyside/Woodside (59%), and Jackson Heights (59%).
As DNAinfo notes, advocates say that rental assistance is crucial in preventing homelessness citywide, especially in neighborhoods where rents rise faster than incomes—many of which overlap with the neighborhoods where families lack adequate savings. And although an increase in rental assistance services like the one proposed by Queens Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi could cost the cost $450 million in state and federal funding, it would be more cost-effective than allowing more families to enter the chronically underfunded shelter system.
Many tenants don't know where to get emergency rental assistance, which can prevent them from falling behind on their rent. And landlords are increasingly claiming "chronic rent delinquency" after just a single late payment, which allows them to begin eviction proceedings earlier on than they would otherwise.
The ANHD report also includes a litany of other statistics that, when looked at together, paint a picture of a neighborhood's potential for economic opportunity: incarceration, unemployment, poverty rates for each neighborhood are included, as are each neighborhood's percentage of small businesses, percentage of households without internet, and percentage of rent-burdened households.
According to the report, the three neighborhoods with the biggest risk to economic opportunity are Highbridge/South Concourse, University Heights/Fordham, and Mott Haven/Melrose.