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Monday, June 23, 2008

PAYING TODAY'S RENT LEAVES LITTLE TO SPARE

The burden of rent is bringing the status of the 'near-poor' closer to that of the poor.

By Nicholas Jahr


Springtime was full of grim news for New York City renters. In April, U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner released an analysis showing that more than 500,000 New Yorkers are spending half or more of their income on housing. In May, the Community Service Society expanded on that observation with a report showing the trend that a growing number of lower-income residents are dedicating an ever-greater fraction of their income to rent. And last week—as if to prove the point—the Rent Guidelines Board approved the highest rent increase for rent-stabilized apartments in years, allowing a 4.5 percent increase on one-year leases, an 8.5 percent increase on two-year leases, plus an unusual supplemental increase for longer-term residents. That's on top of the higher food and energy costs city residents already are grappling with.
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