REGIONAL PLAN ASSOCIATION
Across New York City, the availability of affordable housing is in jeopardy. Even with the ambitious efforts of the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg to preserve or create thousands of affordable housing units, rent protections for much of the existing stock will expire in the coming decades. Nowhere is this challenge more apparent than in Manhattan’s East Harlem neighborhood, where most residents live in some form of rent-regulated housing. Regional Plan Association has a longstanding interest in enhancing the economic health of East Harlem, from its work in the late 1990s to help the community plan for the eventual building of the Second Avenue subway to its recent efforts with Community Board 11 to develop neighborhood housing strategies.
East Harlem has been the home for successive generations of newcomers to New York City for more than a century. Italians, African-Americans and Puerto Ricans settled there before and after World War II and many still make their home there. More recent immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Mexico and other countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa make East Harlem one of the most diverse neighborhoods in New York City.
Affordable housing has always been central to East Harlem’s identity and success. It has one of the highest concentrations of public housing in the city, and a long waiting list of families who want to live in one of the many complexes owned by the New York City Housing Authority. Other rent-regulated housing makes up much of the remainder of its housing stock. Due to the expiration of government subsidies, many of East Harlem’s residents are at risk of being priced out of their homes and neighborhood.
This report provides greatly needed information and policy strategies for the East Harlem community to preserve its stock of rent-regulated affordable housing. It represents a collaborative neighborhood revitalization effort between Regional Plan Association and Community Board 11 seeking to preserve and strengthen the community. This is the second report in a series that aims to advance policy strategies to preserve rent-regulated housing in the community through a broad-based coalition of influential local stakeholders. It can provide a model for other neighborhoods facing a similar loss of affordable housing.
By creating baseline data on the number and locations of rent-regulated housing, this report seeks to enable East Harlem residents to slow down the conversion of rent-regulated housing into market-rate units by providing the community with viable strategies to persuade decision makers to implement policies, zoning and other changes.
About Regional Plan Association
“Regional Plan Association is America’s oldest and most distinguished independent urban research and advocacy group. RPA prepares long-range plans and policies to guide the growth and development of the New York- New Jersey-Connecticut metropolitan region. RPA also provides leadership on national infrastructure, sustainability, and competitiveness concerns. RPA enjoys broad support from the region’s and nation’s business, philanthropic, civic, and planning communities.”