Washington Heights and Inwood Getting the Shaft on Affordable Housing

Things ain't looking up in da Heights. (Bridge and Tunnel Club)

The folks in upper Manhattan have been voicing their concerns lately: residents of West Harlem can’t stand dog doodoo and residents of Washington Heights and Inwood are protesting the lack of affordable housing options. A group of residents and community gathered over the weekend to speak out against Department of Housing and Preservation neglect, DNAInfo reports.

The residents called for more affordable housing in the neighborhoods, citing that only 139 of the 43,922 new units and 1,363 of the 85,299 preserved units under Bloomberg’s administration have been in either Washington Heights or Inwood.

Community leaders pointed out that their residents have the greatest need, but the least attention.

HPD Spokesman Eric Bederman spoke to DNAInfo, telling them that “the department was united with the community in its fight but limited in its resources.” He further noted that construction is a matter of resources, opportunity, and history:

HPD does not own any land in Community Board 12’s district, he noted.

The housing stock in CB 12 largely remained in the hands of landlords and tenants during the 1970s and 1980s when residents were fleeing the city, while in Harlem — in community boards 9, 10 and 11 — the city was able to purchase significant numbers of properties.

Much of the new construction throughout areas like Harlem, the South Bronx or East Brooklyn, is derived from land acquired through tax foreclosure during that time.

If it isn’t HPD, then it is Columbia University.

mewing@observer.com Washington Heights and Inwood Getting the Shaft on Affordable Housing