New York City’s poorest renters are being priced out of other boroughs and are moving to the West Bronx, one of the last bastions of affordable housing in the city, according to Gregory Lobo Jost, deputy director of the University Neighborhood Housing Program (UNHP), speaking at the 2007 Affordable Housing Forum, on March 27 at the McGinley Center, Rose Hill campus.
Jost said the average rent on a one-bedroom rent-stabilized apartment in the Bronx remains the lowest among the five boroughs. But the UNHP’s report, “Shrinking Affordability,” warned of the need to preserve such rents before they completely disappear in a city where the average vacancy rate has been steadily dropping.
“The question is: Who will be able to live in the Bronx in the next ten years?” he said. “Preservation of affordability needs to be the cornerstone of public policy and housing dollars.”
Jost cited a trend that shows an increase in the percentage of household income going toward rent. “While the rents in the West Bronx corridor are among the lowest in the city, they are still barely affordable to neighborhood residents who to often pay more than half their income on rent,” he said.
The UNHP is a Community Development Financial Institution that was created by Fordham University’s Board of Trustees in 1983 to help build, preserve and finance affordable housing in the Northwest Bronx. The UNHP report presented demographic trends in household incomes, vacancy rates and prices per unit for Bronx multifamily housing. Panelists from the private, public and nonprofit sectors commented on the report following its release.
The UNHP is currently involved in lending initiatives that encourage responsible mortgage lending practices. In 2002, the UNHP and Fordham jointly received the Jesuit Social Ministries “Just Communities Campaign Award.”