Sunday, August 1

They present a ‘roadmap’ to rebuild NYC from the economic disaster that punishes Latinos and blacks more forcefully


Before the pandemic, the Puerto Rican Miguel Angel Contreras, 50, I was already having trouble paying the rent for a small apartment in Harlem. The islander is disabled, has no family and has a criminal record that prevents him from getting a job. Since last December, he has been part of the immense ‘legion’ of homeless New Yorkers. And, worst of all, without a different future in sight.

“You get to see and I am young. I have a lot to give. But there are mistakes in youth that condemn you forever. I’m not using crap (drugs). I have not been hungry, there are many programs that help you. But eating is not the only thing “says Miguel on a bench in the west wing of the Central Park, en Manhattan, ‘home’ to dozens of ‘homeless’, who represent a not-new face of poverty in the Big Apple that the COVID-19 crisis fueled, but is also subjecting to thousands of families to touch the abyss.

Before the public health crisis erupted in March 2020, one in five adults and one in five children (more than 1.5 million total) experienced some form of poverty in New York City.

The Black and Latino New Yorkers they were already twice as likely to experience limits to access to housing, food and employment.

Almost 60% of these minority groups experienced poverty, for at least one year between 2016 and 2019. All these trends of vulnerability were fueled by COVID-19.

“There are thousands of families who are having a very bad time and They do not live on the street, nor in the Subway. They still live in their apartments, because the laws against evictions support it. They are waiting for help, but not everyone applies. It’s a mess, hopefully the matter improves, because if not many people will be left on the street ”, said the community leader of The bronx, Josefina Colón.

Coalitions fear the housing crisis could be fiercer. (Photo: F. Martínez)

Postwar scenario

Another number is an indicator of this disaster. Due to the pandemic, nearly a quarter of renters throughout New York City were unable to pay their rent and approximately 40% of New Yorkers faced food difficulties during the health crisis caused by the coronavirus.

Before a stage almost of ‘postwar’ three organizations, Robin Hood, The Century Foundation y Next100, released this Thursday a series of recipes, so that the new administration entering the Mayor’s Office of New York City, next year in January, manages an agenda of “reconstruction”, emphasizing the inequalities that are already part of the history of the city.

“The issues we face in a post-COVID-19 environment are huge, but they are also the opportunities for the next Mayor to address the systemic inequalities that the pandemic exacerbated, ”said Emma Vadehra, Executive Director of Next100.

The roadmap presented in the document ‘From crisis to opportunity’ addresses the most pressing issues for residents in every corner of the city and presents solutions from a racial and economic justice lens to help New York families support themselves outside the poverty line.

Jason Cone, Director of Public Policy from Robin Hood, an organization that has been fighting poverty in New York since 1988, argues that as the Big Apple tries to emerge from this emergency, it faces a unique opportunity to rebuild itself in a “functional way.”

“We are offering the new administration in the Mayor’s Office, a series of policies to confront poverty, based on data and evidence. And most importantly everything is achievable. It’s about reinventing workforce development, child care, education, affordable housing, policing, and social service systems, ”Cone said.

One in five adults in the Big Apple experienced a housing or food crisis in NYC prior to COVID-19. (Photo: F. Martínez)

An angle: child care

The agenda that the new Mayor will have in his hands is based on lessons learned from around the country, including data from a survey of 4,000 New York City homes, which provides a dynamic view of poverty, hardship and disadvantage.

The strategy recognizes that diversity is one of the city’s greatest strengths, and that often overlooked groups such as the undocumented New Yorkers, they will be critical to recovery efforts.

“Perhaps most importantly, it targets the forces that contribute to poverty, for example how problems of access to housing produce segregated schools and educational disparities or how the lack of available child care limits the employment prospects of families. workers. And the women of color in particular “organizations stand out.

According to researchers from the Center for Poverty and Social Policy from Columbia University, if the City invests in childcare the poverty rate for children under three years of age would be reduced by between 5% and 8%

Examples abound. The Salvadoran Nany Saavedra, 35 years old and a resident of the Bronx, his hopes are focused on being able to go back to work and be able to “rebuild” his life.

“Since the pandemic happened, they called me to work, but since my child is special, I preferred to put him in remote classes. They called me for cleaning and things like that, but I still can’t go because I have no one to leave it with. Now that the schools open we see how we will recover. But the road will not be easy. I have a lot of debts, especially rent ”, shared the immigrant.

Democratic candidate in tune

Unless an “extraordinary” event happens, electoral mathematics suggests that next January, Eric Adams, the Democratic candidate for Mayor from New York City, he will be Bill de Blasio’s replacement in directing the destinations of the Big Apple.

In his campaign activities for the primary elections, he also brought to the fore the “imperative” of an “inclusive” post-pandemic recovery that takes into account the historical racial imbalances from the city.

“Child care in New York is outrageously expensive, and the lack of affordable options hurts parents’ ability to work and affects their children’s future. Children without adequate child care, especially during the first 1,000 days of life, are less likely to be successful. And it is much more likely that they are black ”, he highlighted in his postulates.

Regarding poverty, he assures that under his management he will provide direct cash assistance to the most vulnerable New Yorkers through the programa ‘NYC AID’, will create an effort to generate jobs and subsidize child care vulnerable families.

6 ingredients of a recipe to attack poverty

1.- NYC lost more than half a million jobs during the pandemic. This agenda proposes a new wage subsidy program that would promote the rapid rehiring of 30,000 New Yorkers and at least 24,000 New Yorkers of color. In total, it will empower 150,000 workers who have been permanently displaced by the pandemic.

2.- When the eviction moratorium expires, the city runs the risk of a massive increase in evictions and homeless people. This agenda expands eligibility for the city’s main rental assistance program (CityFHEPS) and expands other eviction prevention programs such as Right to Counsel and One-Shot-Deal to promote housing stability for New Yorkers and their residents. children.

3.- In the Big Apple, the communities with the highest poverty rates are also among those with the highest levels of poverty. higher incarceration. This platform calls for public investment in programs to end violence and greater oversight of racially biased police practices.

4.-Non-profit organizations are responsible for the vast majority of social services in the city. Poverty cannot be reduced if the organizations that support low-income communities do not have the resources they need. This agenda seeks to review how and when our vital nonprofits are hired, paid and included in the future planning recovery.

5.- The educational system of the city of New York offers unequal opportunities for black, Latino, and multilingual students, students with disabilities and the homeless. The pandemic and school closures have exacerbated these inequalities. A new platform should support students to return to normal with mental health support and expanded socio-emotional support.

6.- It is recommended that a new mayor restore child care places lost during the pandemic. The proposal would ensure that all eligible low-income families who want child care assistance can receive it, and that no family with income up to $ 150,000 should spend more than 7 percent of their income on child care.

Already poor before COVID-19

  • 50% more chances from living in poverty from 2016 to 2019, Black and Latino New Yorkers had than White New Yorkers according to the “Poverty Report” March 2021 presented by the Robin Hood organization.
  • 60% of Black Adult New Yorkers and Latinos lived in poverty for at least a year between 2015 and 2019, compared to a third of white adults.
  • 40% of black New Yorkers and 30 of the Latino New Yorkers who lifted out of poverty fell below the poverty line just one year later.
  • 22 percent Of black New Yorkers, 25 percent of Latino New Yorkers and 12 percent of white New Yorkers lived in poverty in 2019.
  • 1 in five adults (or 1.2 million people) in New York City lived in poverty. More than 350,000 children (one in five) lived in poverty.
  • 50% African American adults and Latinos in New York City lived in poverty or were low-income before the pandemic.
  • 50% or more of white adults were of higher income, compared to 23 percent of black New Yorkers and 18 percent of Latino New Yorkers.


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