Housing in Brief: New Yorkers Fleeing the State Because of High Cost of Living

And in other housing news this week, an eviction exhibit opens in Richmond, Virginia, and a look into Philadelphia’s rooming houses.

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New Yorkers Fleeing the State Because of High Cost of Living

It’s not just California: New York had the largest population drop of any state from 2018-2019, according to a study by the Empire Center for Public Policy, reported by the New York Post.

The state lost 76,790 people from July 2018 to 2019, a drop of 0.4 percent and the fourth consecutive annual decrease.

E.J. McMahon, the author of the report, suggested to the Post that the high cost of living in the New York City region has led to more people leaving the city and fewer people moving in. Historically, the city population increases have offset corresponding losses in struggling upstate towns.

A June 2019 report found that New York is the third-highest among states for both renters and homeowners who are considered “severely” cost-burdened, meaning they pay more than half of their income on rent or mortgage.

Richmond Public Library Opens Eviction Exhibit

The main branch of Richmond, Virginia’s public library system is opening a new exhibit called “Evicted in Richmond,” reports the Richmond Free Press. According to the Eviction Lab at Princeton University, Richmond ranks #2 in the country for its eviction rate, behind North Charleston, South Carolina.

The exhibit, which is presented by the library and Housing Opportunities Made Equal, the National Building Museum and Virginia Commonwealth University, aims to “answer the question of how Richmond became a national leader in evictions.”

As Next City has previously reported, Mayor Levar Stoney announced an eviction task force in November to study how the city can curtail evictions.

Philadelphia’s Shadow Rooming House Economy Meets a Demand, But at a Cost

Housing activists say that Philly policymakers are “dodging difficult conversations” about how to regulate or legalize rooming houses in the city, reports WHYY. Over the last decade, 82 such houses — defined as homes where at least three people unrelated by blood or marriage live together, sharing bathroom and kitchen facilities — have been permitted in Philadelphia, but activists believe there to be thousands of them, driven by demand for people needing inexpensive places to live.

“By making it so difficult to create rooming houses, it makes landlords go underground,” Karla Cruel, a legal aid attorney, told WHYY. “And illegal rooming houses make it much easier to oppress and manipulate people and put them in really dangerous situations.” Indeed, in 2017, three people died in an illegal rooming house when fire broke out and the home lacked smoke detectors and other fire safety infrastructure.

Fire officials and councilmembers such as Maria Quiñones-Sánchez support changing the city zoning code to allow illegal rooming houses to be brought up to code and into compliance with the law, but, says WHYY, such a change would “require City Council actions that haven’t materialized.”

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Tags: new york cityphiladelphiaevictionsrichmond

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