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Disaster relief

RSS By: Pastor Craig Miller

Disaster relief coordinator Pastor Craig Miller shares disaster relief information in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

How Hurricane Sandy affected renters

Jun 17, 2014

A recently released report by Make the Road New York highlights the impact of Sandy on New York City’s renters. As with New Orleans and Katrina, New York City had many more renters in the impacted neighborhoods than it had homeowners. In addition, the majority of renters are vulnerable populations such as people of color and immigrants. Their research, primarily in Staten Island, discovered that after Sandy many renters have been unable to return to their homes or neighborhoods, and many have had to move to smaller, more expensive apartments, sometimes in multi-family arrangements.

 

Strikingly, the report notes that rents in Sandy impacted neighborhoods have gone up in some cases approximately 20%, thus taking an additional 12% from the median income of households surveyed. For families and individuals already burdened by high rents and low incomes, this leads to difficult choices between housing and food, clothing, or other necessities.

 

It appears that some rental properties are falling prey to speculators and developers. The report cites a Huffington Post article from March 2013 describing the difficulties in repairing or rebuilding after the storm, making sales more attractive to owners and potential buyers who can afford to develop the properties.

 

Renters are important to the local economies that suffered after Sandy as well. Those who rent are more likely to patronize the small businesses located in neighborhoods rather than travel to more distant outlets. Local landlords also depend on rental income to meet their mortgages and other expenses.

What follows are some key findings in the Make the Road report.

  • New York City renters who were affected by Hurricane Sandy have a median income of $18,000, which is approximately half the median income of renters in New York City as a whole.
  • Renters affected by Sandy are more likely to be low-income and of color than their homeowner counterparts.
  • 36% of people interviewed are paying more rent now than they did before the storm.
  • The median rent paid by Sandy-affected households has increased $200 a month since the storm.
  • 40% of renters interviewed did not return to their pre-Sandy address.
  • Many survey participants are living in smaller spaces and moving from single families homes to apartments.
  • Many Sandy-affected renters report they are unable to afford healthy food and other basic necessities as a result of increased rent.
  • Structural barriers, such as the lack of translation and interpretation services for non-native English speakers, have prevented many renters from accessing available resources.
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