STREAM NOW: Almost Home: Housing Insecurity in NYC
WATCH >> Stealing Home | How Deed Theft Makes Homeowners Homeless
NYC property owners — mostly Black or brown, often older — are losing their homes to a whole complex of confidence scams, collectively known as deed theft. Why was Michael Baker evicted from a Brooklyn home his family had owned, free and clear, since 1963? In May 2023, the Court granted Michael’s motion to revive his claims against one of the entities that took ownership of his property’s title, finding it may have been involved in the initial fraud. Michael still faces a long fight and significant obstacles to recovering his property’s title. To find out more about the twists and turns of Michael Baker’s case, read WNYC/Gothamist reporter David Brand’s story.
WATCH NOW>> Public vs. Private | The Fight for NYCHA
Public housing should be maintained and managed like any other government-run venue, but should anyone profit from it? Can you imagine the White House being neglected for years, then someone proposing a plan to pay for repairs by renting units in a new privately owned residential tower erected on the South Lawn? Sure, the tower would include some so-called “affordable housing,” but isn’t the whole point of public housing that it’s actually affordable? New York City has such a private development program, called The Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT), but how do the people living in the nation’s largest public housing system feel about this privatization happening in their open spaces?
WATCH NOW>> Homeroom Dreams | NYC’s Unhoused Student Crisis
During the last school year, some 104,000 New York City public school children lacked permanent housing- meaning 1 in 10 students were homeless. Thousands of children lived in homeless shelters, were “doubled up,” aka living with other families, were unsheltered in cars, abandoned buildings, or out on the streets. These students are referred to as students in temporary housing (STH students). Homeroom Dreams is about Riverside Avenue Middle School in Brownsville, Brooklyn, where 18% of the student population lacks permanent housing. Along with the parents, Principal Pembroke and her staff are working to help the students cope with these challenges and to create a safe and supportive second home at school.
WATCH NOW>> Empty Promises
In 2022, New York City was shocked to discover that nearly 10% of its most affordable housing stock was sitting vacant. Given that the number of people in city shelters is ballooning and the empty apartments are more than enough to house them, it is a travesty and an embarrassment. But why is this apartment warehousing happening? The landlords and their advocates blame a 2019 state law that caps the amount landlords can increase rents in rent-stabilized apartments upon new tenancies—making it harder for them to recoup the cost of repairs. Tenant advocates blame greedy landlords who want to force out tenants paying low rents, and remove their apartments from rent-stabilization all together. Where does the truth lie? BHeard Docs visited two apartment buildings in Brooklyn and an enterprising data reporter from The City to find out.
WATCH NOW>> Broke Unhousing
The homeless population in New York City has reached the highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Fully 88% of heads of households in the shelter system are Black and Latinx – why is it that Black and brown folk are most vulnerable to becoming unhoused? After centuries of being considered property, Black Americans experienced decades of obstacles to owning property: systemic housing discrimination in Federal, state, and local policies, along with ongoing displacement, exclusion, and segregation, continue to prevent people of color from getting and retaining their own homes and accessing safe, affordable housing. Even now, how do complex measuring systems like Area Median Income (AMI) mismeasure real affordability, and so perpetuate the inequality? Can the cycle be unbroken?
WATCH NOW>> ALMOST HOME TRAILER
Following up on the Emmy-winning documentary series, Sidewalk Civics, and our Spring, ‘22 series, The Damage Done: Gun Violence in Brooklyn, BRIC TV’s #BHeard Docs unit is producing a new five-part series on one of the most complex and hard to solve problems facing New York City: housing insecurity. Each of the five parts of Almost Home will explore this issue from a distinct angle, but the series’ overarching framework will take viewers from narrow to broad, from the impact on one person to the systemic inequalities driving the lack of affordable housing and in too many cases, homelessness.