By Ethan Wise
It’s every person’s dream to live in New York City. However, for the average person it’s going to stay that way; a dream. The price to live in the city just keeps rising, a combination of inflation and aftereffects of Covid, while wages stagnate. Most of the rising prices (especially food) are the consequence of the national/global economy, however the rising cost of housing is a New York specific thing.
Housing is the biggest issue for current New Yorkers and future residents. According to Bloomberg.com, as of July last year NYC was the most expensive city to rent a one-bedroom apartment in. Rents have always been high in the city, with the amount of people who want to live here, but the pandemic of 2020 only made things worse. Landlords have increased rents to make the money back that they lost during Covid. According to the NYTimes, in an article titled “NY Renters Are Now Paying the Price for the ‘Covid Discount’ by Ronda Kaysen, a woman by the name of Cathy Linh Che had her rent increased by 65% in May of last year. Directly quoted from the article comes StreetEasy economist, Kenny Lee, in which they say “The landlords are basically trying to recoup their lost income during the pandemic” indicting this is not an isolated incident. The reputation of landlords has never been in very good standing, but there is some truth to that. The Public Advocate’s Office (currently run by Jumanne D. Williams) releases a yearly list of the top 100 worst landlords within the city, based on the number of violations they’ve committed. Rent-controlled apartments do exist, but according to the New York Times, the number of apartments is dwindling. One cause of increased rents mentioned is that the supply of housing does not meet the demand of residents. When a commodity is rare, its price goes up, which is extremely depressing; viewing housing as something to make money off of. Rents just keep getting higher with no signs of stopping.
New York does have public housing, run by the NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA), but this system has its own set of problems. Mayor Adams, when introducing his $99.7 billion dollar budget for 2023, increased the Housing Authority’s budget by $500 million only making the total $2.2 billion dollars. To put this into perspective, Mayor Adams’ budget has $31 billion dollars for the Department of Education, and a majority of residents agree the DoE is underfunded. The NYPD had its budget increased to $5.6 billion (from $5.4 billion) and the general consensus is that the NYPD is overfunded (this is all according to the New York Post in an article by Bernadette Hogan, Nolan Hicks and Sam Raskin in “Mayor Eric Adams delivers address on $99.7B 2023 NYC budget”). The Housing Authority not only has to build new housing, already a costly endeavor, but has to maintain its current buildings. The current buildings have a slew of problems; vermin, pipes in need of replacement, poor insulation, all the consequences of old buildings plus not enough money to fix the problem.
New York is a beautiful city. Most people could not imagine living anywhere else. It is home to over 8 million people. But that choice of living in this city may no longer be in the people’s hands if the city continues in this downward spiral of a housing crisis.