NY State Senator Adriano Espaillat is on a mission to fight gentrification and he wants Congress to join him.
Currently one of the frontrunners looking to replace U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel, Espaillat recently unveiled a plan that he’s confident will combat the negative impact that massive gentrification is having on the Manhattan and Bronx neighborhoods. Arguably the Manhattan area that has been most affected by the gentrification overhaul of the last five to seven years is Harlem. Harlem has been a mecca for African-American culture with a deeply rooted history that long-time residents and local community activists have fought to preserve, but the latest economic statistics show that their efforts have unfortunately not been enough without action from state lawmakers.
According to The Huffington Post, rent prices in Central Harlem have seen a 53 percent spike between 1990 and 2014, while the Black population of the area decreased significantly from 77 percent to 55 percent. Meanwhile, the area’s white population has increased from 2 percent to 15 percent.
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Espaillat’s proposed plan would see to it that residents in certain areas highly populated with working-class minorities would be protected from the possibility of losing their homes due to increases in rent and cost of living in association with gentrification practices. The proposal also includes a provision that would allow current tenants the opportunity to purchase their property first should it go up for sale, by way of additional funding for government-backed loans from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Gentrification and income inequality and affordability are such an important issue for New Yorkers,” Espaillat said while speaking on the topic recently. “New York [is] becoming more and more expensive, and many families are having a hard time making ends meet, or are just moving elsewhere, because they just can’t afford to live here.”
Should Senator Espaillat win the upcoming primary elections and unseat Rep. Rangel, he will make history as the first Dominican in Congress.
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