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Rents fall for the rich - and in a shocking turn of events - rise for the poor

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YIMBYism isn’t going to solve any problems 





YIMBYs argue that zoning and other restrictions on development prevent the market from meeting people’s housing needs. But the housing market has never met the needs of the poor — in fact, while the latest housing crisis was caused by the mortgage market’s collapse, working people have been overpaying for substandard housing since at least the mid-nineteenth century, well before New York City pioneered zoning restrictions in 1916.


By advancing a narrative that privileges development (and developer profits) over non-market strategies and tenant power, YIMBYs provide cover and political support for politicians who want to be seen as progressive but don’t want to confront developers. Some YIMBYs are running for office themselves on a pro-growth platform.


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In other countries, however, public housing has been more successful. In the mid-1960s, the Swedish Social Democratic Party launched an ambitious plan to provide truly affordable housing and produce “good democratic citizens,” called the Million Programme. More than a million homes were built by the 1970s, and they now house approximately a quarter of the Swedish population. Though they have come under fire from liberal and conservative critics for their modernist superblock architecture, their peripheral locations, and their propensity to house newly-arrived immigrants, they have continued to provide quality housing for millions of low-income Swedes and to resist privatization. Some are currently being retrofitted to make them more environmentally efficient.


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Mayor de Blasio’s homeless policies are so hard to swallow for a Queens landlord that he’s gone on a hunger strike.


Saverio “Sam” Esposito, 53, said he stopped eating Monday in protest of Hizzoner’s plan to establish a homeless shelter for 113 mentally ill men in his neighborhood by winter.


“I’m going to keep this up till they carry me away by ambulance,” or the mayor agrees to a sitdown, the retired cop vowed.


“I love Ozone Park,” he said. “I know that once they put this [shelter] up, this whole area is going to change dramatically.”


The city is converting a shuttered Lutheran School on 101st Avenue into the shelter, and plans to stop using a local hotel to house homeless people. It expects to find a second site to house another 150 homeless people in the district in the coming years. The Ozone Park site is one of 90 shelters de Blasio wants to open throughout the city.


Esposito is camped out in front of the construction site. Sporting shorts, sandals, a T-shirt and stubble, on Friday he looked no worse for the wear after five days with nothing, he said, but water and coffee to sustain him.


“I don’t feel light-headed. I took my blood pressure. It’s fine,” Esposito said, adding he’d lost 12 pounds since his hunger strike started.


He and some friends were manning a table where they asked passersby to sign a petition against the shelter. Shade from a tree and a fan made the heat, which peaked at 93 degrees Friday, more bearable. Esposito’s also set up a tent where he sleeps at night, and rents a portable toilet. He’s plastered his four cars, parked in front of the shelter building, with anti-shelter signs.


Politicians have also rallied against the shelter.


“This is an administration that does not listen. So we have a resident going on a hunger strike,” said state Sen. Joseph Addabbo. “It is absolutely unacceptable that this individual feels that’s the only way he can gain attention to this issue.”


Esposito, who has 27 tenants, said he’s not protesting to protect property values, but to ensure safety.


Both Addabbo and Esposito said they’d rather see a shelter for women with kids or veterans. They say homeless men with mental health issues could pose a safety threat in the close-knit neighborhood of cozy houses, plus several schools.


So far the city is not budging.


“We’re moving forward with opening this facility as soon as possible to give homeless New Yorkers the opportunity to be sheltered closer to the communities they called home before winter approaches,” Department of Homeless Services spokeswoman Arianna Fishman said.


Esposito pled guilty in 2014 to a misdemeanor in connection with a massive Social Security fraud scheme in which his father Joseph Esposito was one of the ringleaders. Esposito, who said he has long been on bad terms with his dad, did not get any jail time.


“I’ve never stopped being involved with the community,” Esposito, a former community board member, said.


Not everyone who passed by Esposito on Friday agreed with his message.


“It’s kind of messed up,” Yajaira Corona, 21, said as she pushed a child in a stroller. “I don’t think that homeless people are going to bother anybody.”



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