Saturday, February 29, 2020

No city for old people

City Limits 

Florina, 62, and her husband, who is 63, haven’t paid rent on their rent-regulated Bronx apartment in months.

The husband has not been able to work in 16 years and is blind. Florina does sporadic cleaning work to bring in extra income but is otherwise retired. Neither receives any kind of disability or Social Security benefit, due to their immigration status.

In January of 2019, Florina received a notice saying that her rent would go up by 30 percent, an amount the family couldn’t pay.

The couple are one of a few dozen residents of a building in the Bronx who are now on a rent strike. 

The couple, along with their children and grandchildren, with whom they live, are protesting a Major Capital Improvement – a rent hike on regulated units intended to fund building-wide repairs that they said raises their rent beyond what they can pay. The hike was approved prior to last summer’s rent reforms, which curtailed the practice. They are also protesting deteriorating conditions in their home.

In response, their landlord took the couple to court in an attempt to evict the family. Their hearing has been postponed until March, thanks to the intervention of a lawyer. But Florina and her husband still fear they will be evicted, along with their working age children and young grandchild.
Florina is fortunate, she says, that she lives with children – her son, 39, works at a bakery and her daughter, 30, is a home-health aide. While their combined income does not pay for the increased rent on their apartment, being partially supported by a younger generation is not something all elder New Yorkers have.

Many elder New Yorkers without such family ties and with little retirement savings end up displaced, segregated to an adult home, or worse, shuffled into the city’s homeless shelter system when they become ill.

“Sadly a lot of older, disabled people believe ‘they can’t throw me out into the street’,” says Justin La Mort, a housing lawyer with the group Mobilization for Justice who works with elders. “The bad news is, in fact, they can. It’s just a matter of time.”

The city uses a patchwork of social services and subsidies to keep elders aging in place, but they can be difficult to qualify for and their funds are limited. For those without savings or income from work, federal programs—SSI, SSDI or social security—can come too late and, when they do arrive, may not meet the high cost of rent in New York City. The result is a permanent sense of precarity among the city’s most vulnerable, sometimes culminating in homelessness or displacement.

A lack of retirement savings compounds the problem. According to the commissioner of the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs, half of New Yorkers 55 and older have no money in traditional retirement accounts. 40 percent of New Yorkers between 50 and 64 have less than $10,000 saved in such accounts. Nationally, 29 percent of adults above 55 have neither a pension nor retirement savings, according to the Government Accountability Office.

This lack of assets can have material effects when older adults face hardships: a recent study from the non-profit Robin Hood looked at material hardship, spurred by housing insecurity, job loss or illness. The study found that 53 percent of New Yorkers experienced such hardship for at least one year in the survey’s four year timespan.

According to the same report, 23 percent of respondents experienced poor health between 2012-2018. The study also found housing subsidies and rent regulations had reduced the poverty rate by 5 percent.

Elders who become disabled suddenly can find themselves in a grey area where social services can’t help them. Awaiting disability benefits, for which they may be rejected, they could find themselves in arrears and face evicted for unpaid rent. Still others who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) may be surprised to learn that their income is less than what they owe in rent but too much to qualify for a city or state subsidies to prevent homelessness. 

As City Limits has reported, the percentage of older adults in New York City’s shelter population is increasing. There is no way to determine how many elders become homeless each day through eviction, as eviction data made public by the city does not include age as a data point. While the number of adults in city shelters who are age 65 and above increased 300 percent between 2004 and 2017, older adults who are evicted don’t always enter shelter. And seniors don’t have to be formally evicted to be displaced by the threat of eviction; if they move out ahead of being uprooted by a marshal, or take a buyout, the result can be the same. Few elders are fortunate enough to find more affordable housing in the city, and some are forced to relocate to other states.

Evictions have been decreasing overall across New York City, thanks to a raft of pro-tenant legislation that closed loopholes for regulated apartments and provide access to counsel. Evictions executed by city marshals decreased 25 percent between January 2019 and January 2020. But for tenants who can no longer gain any income from work because they are elderly or disabled, eviction or displacement are more difficult to put off.


Anonymous said...

Illegal aliens and their multiple generations of anchor babies, all still somehow unable to pay for a rent regulated apartment in the Bronx. And I’m supposed to few bad about this? I do - for the landlord.

Anonymous said...

In Canada, Switzerland, Japan, France, Italy, Spain, Australia, Ireland, UK, Sweden, even in Mexico!, they would have been deported ages ago for being ILLEGALLY in those countries. Glad to know that Pelosi is praying.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I wonder who the landlord is...greed is good.., for the ones who hold the gold

Skinny Pete said...

Look at the absolute assholes that commented before me.

Anonymous said...

No sympathy for the tenants. None.

Julie B. said...

63 is elderly? Jeez.

Anonymous said...

Neither receives any kind of disability or Social Security benefit, due to their immigration status.

That sentence says it all. Illegals or non citizens able to rent out rent stabilized apartments while citizens suffer. I dont feel an ounce of sympathy for her. If you've lived here for so long, then you should have found a way many years ago on how to get citizenship.

Anonymous said...

I have sympathy for any elderly person and I hope things work out for this family living in one of the highest priced world cities on the planet.

At the same time, if we are looking to remedy the problems in our system here in the US, we must come to terms with the true cost of allowing unfettered chain migration and illegal immigration. Remember, we are 20 Trillion in debt already.

Look at it this way; would a family living in poverty, say in Appalachia, ever consider moving to Hong Kong or London or Paris to retire?

Yet, we have thousands upon thousands of elderly poor around the world, being pulled here to NYC to live out their elderly years in a world class city, with no personal resources and no language or working skills! How is this supposed to be sustainable?

And before you call me racist or insensitive or xenophobic, in a feeble attempt to end the discussion, ask yourself if this type of retirement tourism goes on in any place else in the world.
Ans. it doesn't because it wouldn't be tolerated. Look up the elderly immigration requirements for Australia and New Zealand for example.

This article of course, attempts to paint a sinister picture by placing the blame on the always "evil" landlord. Major fail.

In fact, this story serves to point out the complex and multiple problems involved in this issue of running our immigration policy as a charity while other nations across the globe demand that immigrants arrive with a means of support before retiring in a first world nation, least they find themselves unable to subsist, thereby adding to the problem of generational poverty.

Simply stated, there are two working adults living within this apartment and at least three generations. This is not the Lower East side 1895, there has to be a better way to approach immigration.

In terms of solutions, with two working adults; paying rent on a rent stabilized apartment shouldn't be a huge burden. Especially as last year's package of rent laws passed in Albany effectively takes any future rent increases out of the hands of landlords. Yes, that's right, landlords in rent stabilized buildings now have full partners in the city and state housing administrations...without asking for said partnership.

If I were the working adults, however, I would be looking hard into moving the entire family to a more tax friendly state with a lower cost of living, and a better quality of life for the elderly parents. Someplace like Texas, since Democrat politicians have made living in NYC unsustainable for most due to the tax burden.

The daughter working in a nursing home full time could pay the rent and food costs alone for the entire family where housing costs are one third the price. The adult son could then use his wages to actually plan a sustainable future in a house for the extended family.

Lifelong New Yorker with no time for bullshit

Anonymous said...

Dear Life Long New Yorker: Spot On!

The Democratic Party serves the Democratic Party and the needs and interests of the Democratic Party, and no one else, not unlike other similar parties of the extreme Left ... or Right.

History has example after example of a party that, once entrenched as the Democrats are, have effectively taken over the government and its apparatus to serve ITS needs, not that of the COMMONWEAL: that is the happiness, health, and safety of all of the people of a community or nation.

Socialists, Communists, and Fascists come to mind when you see the direction of the Democratic Party whose disastrous social programs and social engineering which is tearing apart the civic and social fabric of our nation. Look at NYC where government rots under the heel of "wokeness."

When you hear them, in response to Trump calling for civic architecture to resemble the styles of the past, slam the US Capital as representing a "style that echoes European racial dominance" you know "we have a problem Houston".

Sick of Whining said...

Life Long New Yorker is absolutely right.

And I have a huge problem with this phony "housing crisis" which was invented solely to make developers and politicians even richer.

Cheap housing in an expensive city is not a human right. There is no obligation to provide housing for every person who desires to live here. You want to live here? Come, find employment, and find an apartment you can afford. Others have done it! If you can't manage it, live elsewhere.

Used to be, once a couple had two kids, they would move out of the city to a friendly suburb with god schools and commute into the city for work. Their move out of the city made housing available for some newcomer. Suddenly that stopped. Why? It's still a good plan.

People are such cry-babies now. I want this, I want that, I want what that guy has! I'm fed up with it. As my dad used to say "I like wine but I don't like whining."

Three generations of illegals crammed in a shitty apartment they can't afford. Let me go find my hanky...

Anonymous said...

Neither receives any kind of disability or Social Security benefit, due to their immigration status.

Stopped reading after that

Anonymous said...

Not only have these people been sucking the teat of our taxpayer money for all these years, they managed to produce children that presumably helped themselves to free education they had no right to, and still ended up with low skill, low pay jobs. They obviously squandered the opportunity they had to acquire an education and get a decent paying job. And I'm supposed to feel sorry for them? They should all be billed for the taxpayer money and services they stole, as illegals, and then kicked out of the country. Imagine multiplying this situation times millions of such cases, NONE of which belong in our country. Then imagine the less crowded, cheaper quality of life there would be for all legitimate taxpaying citizens if they didn't have to shoulder this burden, just so the dumbocrats could have more reliable dependent dumbocrat votes. Your monies would go to benefit YOU, who paid the taxes. Your taxes could go down without these illegitimate mouths to feed, house and educate. It's like relieving a heavily infested emaciated dog of a huge burden of ticks, then watching the poor animal start at last to thrive. Are you so brainwashed by libtards that you accept a heavily taxed, bursting at the seams city to live in, when you could legitimately have a better quality of life?

Anonymous said...

So now we know why our kids can't find affordable, rent regulated apartments - because people with this sort of "immigration status" are living in them.

People losing their long-term apartments because necessary renovations made them affordable is a real problem. But couldn't they find some actual native New Yorkers for this article?

3 people in the apartment have jobs, yet they still can't afford the rent - that's another real problem. But couldn't they find some actual native New Yorkers for this article?

@Lifelong: Yet, we have thousands upon thousands of elderly poor around the world, being pulled here to NYC to live out their elderly years in a world class city, with no personal resources and no language or working skills!

Who's moving here to retire? Presumably the couple in the article have been here at least 16 years, which means they came here in their mid 40s at latest, hardly retirement age.

Anonymous said...

The Liberals will destroy whats left of New York City and the Voters allowed it to happen !
Nothing to see here move on ...

Anonymous said...

Corona virus will take care of China's aging problem, ours, too.
Especially smokers, who burden our health system.

Anonymous said...

And who gets the free lawyers? the illegal aliens, not regular born here Americans. Known as citizens.

Mobilization for Justice - another schlock non profit holding immigration legal clinics instead of helping us, real born here New Yorkers.

They give legal assistance until your landlord, who got money from the government to build the apartment building, keeps taking you to housing court. Then his unethical attorneys give an under the table donation to Mobilization for Justice attorneys and since they hate old poor disabled tenants who call the city on the landlord, they make sure you're evicted.
Next thing, those lawyers have a new job - working for the landlord's lawyers.

Cry me a river... send them all back home, the housing crisis would be gone. City Limits is a shitty publication- full of hatred and bias against Whites and Americans.

Anonymous said...

63 is elderly? Jeez.- but only for hard working immigrants, the rest of us working stiffs get no sympathy, compassion or free attorneys. Or articles written about us in Shitty Limits magazine.

Look at it this way; would a family living in poverty, say in Appalachia, ever consider moving to Hong Kong or London or Paris to retire?

How about you all take up a collection and fly me to Paris... for the week.

Anonymous said...

I new I was Woke when I realized I was BROKE.

Anonymous said...

Somebody said:

"Who's moving here to retire? Presumably the couple in the article have been here at least 16 years, which means they came here in their mid 40s at latest, hardly retirement age."

Lifelong New Yorker with no time for bullshit replies:

What don't you understand about how elderly foreign citizens (legally migrating or illegally migrating) are being moved into NYC in large numbers?

It's called "chain migration" and it's been the emphasis of our immigration policy for over 20 years. Speak to any recent immigrant (legal or illegal) and the first thing they want to do is bring their parents over here to "retire" in nyc. That's what you call moving to nyc in your old age.
No problem with that in theory, but the reality of the situation is that many, if not most, of the parents being brought over don't have the education, language skills or work skills to make it on their own in this world city.
Yes, NYC is a world city, just like London, Paris, Hong Kong, Brussels, Rome, etc, etc.
As a world city, there should be no expectation that everyone on the planet can afford to actually live in the center of this city. In fact, most of the world cities do not have any policies in place to either afford or promote the retirement of recently migrating elderly individuals in the city center.

In case you think I'm kidding, check out the fact that there are even housing projects right next to Lincoln Center in Manhattan. Again, nothing wrong with that, but it goes to show you the lengths this city and its taxpayers goes to in order to provide equitable housing for all levels of society.
The downside is that this costs the taxpayers huge amounts of money and places an undue burden on the working class.

Read this article about chain migration and the elderly if you are confused about how old folks are being pulled into living in NYC by legally or illegally migrating younger individuals:

Lifelong New Yorker with no time for bullshit

Anonymous said...

Went to my local senior center this morning
With the exception of a black American administrator - every single person was an immigrant- I guess that many are illegals.
I feel alienated in my own country- I do not like to be told I’m so many ways that I am a second class citizen.
Asked about housing- no the Catholic Charities list is closed-can they take the illegal aliens off the list and place me ahead of them?
And you wonder why Trump won in 2016?

Anonymous said...

Ain't irony grand. While you rant about illegal immigrants you depend on them to carry your motor scooter to where other illegals can take care of you. All the aborted fetii are avenging themselves. If you had more kids, they would take care of you instead.

Anonymous said...

So US citizens in NYC who cant afford rent are now told, phuck u?. The illegals can cry me a river.