First, I need a bit of help. Please fact check me.
There was an article about a woman who has an organization dedicated to eradicating the inequality baked into our society originally created out of racist animosity [“Fair Housing Task Force Presents Findings,” Residence, 27east.com, July 12]. One thing startled me. This intelligent, articulate, purpose-driven woman does not see that she is the victim of the very thinking she strives to eradicate.
Specifically, she said the solution to low-income or affordable housing was apartments. This is entirely untrue.
How was suburbia created? With single-family homes built first by companies such as Ford for their workforce. Later, there were developments such as Levittown, built with government programs for veterans. All of this was single-family or sometimes duplex housing, not apartments.
Low-income apartments, the infamous projects of the 1960s, became the solution for the poor, most often people of color. They were crammed into the least attractive locations and often in toxic wastelands (read “The Yellow House”).
The problem can be solved in other ways. With zoning. With rule changes. Here on Long Island, especially, I see one rule that is massively destructive of both the social structure and the environment. This rule gives developers large increases in density by putting in a few units of “affordable” housing. The Woods in Hampton Bays is one example. The development in East Quogue another. I don’t know the origin of this rule, but it could simply be rewritten, reversed and amended.
First, no increase in density at all for the sake of the environment. Second, affordable homes (1,600 square feet), not luxury homes, become the rule. A few units of luxury housing becomes the reward.
This would directly impact another statement this lady made, which was that putting affordable housing in areas segregated by red-lining would never cure the problem. One is, of course, up against the largely white male banking and building industry and realty outfits, which are in fact owned by equity firms (Corcoran, Douglas Elliman, Sothebys). One doubts that they see themselves as a problem.
How one attacks power and wealth is always a question. Government is one answer. Perhaps we could interest Mackenzie Bezos in the issue.
One fine body…