By Joanna Reid
New York City just got more expensive. Due to the United States’s housing shortage, rent prices are skyrocketing all across the country. In 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the
Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act in order to ensure citizens of the city could afford rent. The act forced landlords to update apartments in order to keep tenants safe, while not overcharging in rent after these renovations were done. The act also made sure that landlords did not raise prices too high when their apartments became vacant. The government deemed this as fair because if it's easier for one to afford their rent, they are less likely to leave and move somewhere else, so landlords would still earn plenty of money from their tenants.
According to “Business Insider,” there are plenty of apartments available in New York City, but tenants are waiting for the law to change before renting their own out. This way tenants can choose exactly what prices they want for rent and guarantee that they make more money. The Community Housing Improvement Program announced that of about 1 million rent-stabilized homes in New York City, around 20,000 are currently vacant (as of July 10, 2022), proving that this is becoming a large problem for those living in NYC.
As the population of New York City grows, so do rent prices. In 2020 (after the pandemic began), about 8.80 million people inhabited New York City. It is estimated for 2022 that nearly 8.85 million people currently live in New York City. It seems as though, now that the Covid-19 pandemic has “settled down,” more people are moving back into the city. This is another reason why rent prices are rising.
Unfortunately, this has only led to an increase in homelessness. In July 2022, Coalition for the Homeless reported “there were 52,137 homeless people, including 16,650 homeless children, sleeping each night in New York City’s main municipal shelter system. A near-record 18,940 single adults slept in shelters each night in July 2022.” And that is only those who are receiving support from the shelter system.
Personally, this concerns me as I hope to live in New York City one day. I worry that I won’t be able to afford rent for an apartment in a decent area with decent enough space. Or if I can afford rent, I won’t be able to afford much else. I feel as though the U.S. government relies heavily on capitalism, oftentimes ignoring the basic needs of people, like shelter. This has clearly been an ongoing problem as the homelessness population in New York City is already so high, I worry for these people as well. New York City constantly refuses to help the homeless population by making things such as benches or sidewalks “homeless-proof.” The City just spent $1.6 billion to build the new Moynihan train hall, yet cannot afford to aid people struggling to pay rent? The government is making it harder and harder for new generations to live comfortably.