Why Hispanic Residents Need Help to Remain Uptown

Luz García, Inwood resident. (Photo via El Diario)

Partners in Preservation, a $1.5 million pilot program to combat tenant displacement in Inwood and Washington Heights, was unveiled on Tuesday by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Below are excerpts of a story by El Diario’s José Martínez,  focusing on the impact of high rents and displacement on residents in Washington Heights.

In her 30 years as a social worker for the city, Inwood resident Luz García anguished over the cases of thousands of Dominican families, many of them related to the loss of their rent-stabilized apartments in Upper Manhattan.

García, also Dominican, arrived in the Big Apple when she was 13 with her parents, Andrea Germania García, now 88, and Pedro Pablo García, 96. She wonders how the elderly couple would be able to pay non-stabilized rent if the owner of the building where they reside chose to convert it into a condominium.

“It is a very sad situation, what is happening with rents,” said García, who lives in a rent-stabilized apartment herself for which she pays $825 per month. Her parents, whom she has cared for since she retired, pay $330. If they lost the benefit, they would have to pay a monthly rent of more than $3,000.

“It is impossible to pay those prices, and that is why many couples are moving in with other couples, just so they can keep an apartment here,” said García.

The uncertainty this family feels regarding whether they will be able to stay in their apartment is shared by many other families in the neighborhood. Every day, they all endure systematic harassment on the part of their landlords, and many end up moving out of their homes because there is no information or assistance available.

(…)

Some 10,000 Hispanic residents moved out of Washington Heights in 2015, according to figures published by the city comptroller’s office for the period between 2000 and 2015, analyzed by City Lab.

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