“All I see is overpopulating the city with others. Others keep on coming in. Others keep on coming in…. The only people that can afford this rent is people that’s not from New York! Honestly.”
That’s how Joshua Jacobo, a 29-year-old native of East New York, Brooklyn, described his frustration in front of a packed, standing-room-only public meeting on the city’s development plan for his neighborhood. In this episode of There Goes the Neighborhood, a podcast produced in partnership with WNYC Studios, we hang out with Joshua and other East New York residents who are determined to protect their neighborhood from the waves of gentrification that have washed over much of Brooklyn.
Joshua’s anxieties about housing exist all over the country right now. Poor renters everywhere are spending huge shares of their income on rent, more so than we’ve seen in decades. But the problem is uniquely acute in New York City. If you doubled the supply of housing that’s affordable to people living in poverty here, we’d still have a shortage of units.
Mayor Bill de Blasio says he has a housing and development plan to ease if not solve this crisis. This week, he struck a deal with the City Council and community advocates that will allow his plan to move forward; it’s been called the most ambitious effort in the country. In a later episode, we’ll look at how the plan will be applied in East New York. But this week, we meet a developer who’s eyeing the neighborhood—and we learn about the already precarious balance the mayor must strike in order to encourage more construction, without creating a real estate gold rush that will trample residents like Joshua.
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