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New Yorkers in NYC’s poorest neighborhoods face higher housing discrimination, analysis finds

(GOTHAMIST) David Brand, March 8, 2023

New Yorkers living in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods are more likely to face discrimination if they’re receiving assistance to pay for rent, according to a new analysis by a pair of nonprofits.

Unlock NYC and Neighbors Together mapped roughly 1,500 reports of “source of income” discrimination complaints lodged against brokers and landlords since 2018. Both groups, which help people who have housing vouchers find homes, found that the highest rates of complaints occurred in northern Manhattan and central Brooklyn, along with parts of the northeast Bronx.

Manon Vergerio, the head of data and advocacy at UnlockNYC, said the map suggests renters using assistance programs like federal Section 8 or New York’s CityFHEPS are looking in areas they can afford with the subsidies — but still getting locked out.

“New York is so unbelievably unaffordable and a lot of areas are completely out of reach,” Vergerio said. “People are really limited in their options, and we feel people are going back to areas that are redlined” — a reference to historic, race-based housing policies that deepened segregation in cities like New York.

In neighborhoods like Washington Heights, Brownsville and Parkchester, rents are lower than the city’s soaring average and often priced for people with rental assistance vouchers. But brokers frequently put up roadblocks once they learn someone has a subsidy, Vergerio said.

“Vouchers are supposed to help people move to ‘high-opportunity’ zones, but the reality is that’s not what’s really happening because of the barriers in their search,” she said.

Read More: Gothamist