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How New York City’s housing crunch has poured gasoline on a festering homeless crisis

As a result, a dynamic that began under the two previous mayors, Rudolph W. Guiliani and Michael Bloomberg has grown inexorably worse under Mayor Bill de Blasio. A policy change under Bloomberg denied priority of public rental vouchers to displaced families — creating what homeless advocates called a “revolving door of homelessness” that has yet to abate.

“As we reach record homelessness, we also have a housing crisis,” said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer to CNBC recently. “When more than half of New Yorkers spend over one-third of their income on rent, we have a major challenge.”

Indeed, soaring housing costs have hit New Yorkers hard. During November, the average rental price of a NYC apartment fell by more than 3 percent in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, according to Douglas Elliman. However, the average rental cost remains well above $3,000 per month, underscoring how surging rents have priced a number of city residents out of the market, displacing thousands of families and individuals.

According to a recent Housing and Vacancy Survey from the Census Bureau, 56 percent of city households qualify as rent burdened with more than 30 percent of their income going to rent and utilities. Of rent-burdened New Yorkers, the subset of extremely rent burdened pay more than 50 percent of their income toward rent and utilities. Nearly 3 out of every 10 rent-burdened New Yorkers fall into that category.

The problem is also largely economic, with city wages shrinking and slack in the city’s labor market — where unemployment hovers above the national rate at 5.1 percent. It all makes the nexus between homelessness and a lack of affordable housing more acute, experts say.

source : CNBC

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