The latest study by the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute at The City College of New York on the effects of gentrification proposes new public policies to stop the displacement of Dominicans and other working class groups in Washington Heights and Inwood.
Establishing a Tax-Increment Financing (TIF) area in the two communities and using the revenue to fund a Community Land Trust (CLT) is one recommendation in the study entitled: “Restoring Housing Security and Stability in New York Neighborhoods.”
Closing loopholes in New York State laws governing rent stabilized apartments and establishing protections for tenants with preferential rent riders in their lease agreements is another CUNY DSI proposal.
“Our TIF proposal could serve as a model to other neighborhoods in New York to restore housing security and stability,” said Ramona Hernández, CUNY DSI director and professor of Sociology in the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership.
Hernández and her co-authors, Yana Kucheva, assistant sociology professor in the Colin Powell School; Sarah Marrara and Utku Sezgin, both associate researchers at CUNY DSI, suggest that:
“The idea of CLTs at the most basic level involves dedicating a revenue stream for the purchase of land for the benefit of the local community. The land is held in a trust in perpetuity by a local non-profit organization, which makes sure to represent the interests of the beneficiaries of the trust.”
In terms of closing loopholes in current rent stabilization laws, one proposal is the elimination of vacancy decontrol, colloquially known as the “eviction bonus.” It allows landlords to increase rents by 20% plus 1/60th of the cost of any improvements done to a rent-stabilized unit when a renter moves out.
The study is a follow up to the policy brief “When a Neighborhood Becomes a Revolving Door for Dominicans,” published by CUNY DSI in January.
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