It seems like housing in Brooklyn, New York isn’t even affordable for superheroes. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, released in 2015, Captain America and Falcon had the following conversation:
SAM WILSON AKA FALCON: You find a place in Brooklyn yet?
STEVE ROGERS AKA CAPTAIN AMERICA: I don’t think I can afford a place in Brooklyn.
According to New York City’s April 2016 Social Indicators Report: “NYCHA’s wait list for the Section 8 program has been closed since 2007, except for veterans who receive Section 8 through the Veteran’s Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program. As of November 2015, there are over 148,000 families on the Section 8 wait list.”
“Orange is the New Black,” which is a book about a woman’s experience being incarcerated, conveys multiple prison protocols that mirror so many shelter protocols and administrative attitudes. Sadly, I don’t find this shocking since I have a case worker who told me, “These are the same questions you get asked when you get arrested” when I queried about the relevance of certain questions she was asking me. SMH!
Defying laws set in the 1980s, New York City is now creating more micro apartments. These tiny living spaces are being marketed to tenants who are increasingly having great difficulties navigating New York City’s absurdly expensive housing market. Researchers are warning of the health dangers of residing in these cramped living spaces.
According to the Observer, the director of design for human health at Boston Architectural College has stated that living in micro-apartments can be very unhealthy and can exacerbate stress factors for people who live in them. He sites the increase of domestic abuse, alcoholism, and claustrophobia that occurs when people live in extremely close quarters.
Researchers also point out the damage that is likely to be caused to children who live in cramped spaces. The director of Housing Environments Research Group is quoted in the Observer by saying that children who live in crowded apartments can become “withdrawn and have trouble studying and concentrating.”
New York’s inclusionary zoning program is a voluntary program that is available to developers. This program allows developers to build 33% more square feet than is usually permitted if the developer agrees to set aside 20% of the available units in their development for affordable housing.
According to an survey done by a NYC councilman, the inclusionary zoning program generated only less than 3,000 new affordable housing units between 2005 to mid-2013.