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Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

The burden of rising rents and decrease of available low-income housing in the Queens neighborhoods of Elmhurst and Corona is forcing families to double up in apartments, according to a report by the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness.

The nonprofit, which focuses on the impact of public policies on poor and homeless children, began collecting data after noticing the reactions from the community to the Boulevard Family Residence, the homeless shelter occupying the former Pan American Hotel on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst.

“The report started with the opening of the shelter in Elmhurst/Corona in 2014,” said Jennifer Erb-Downward, the principal policy analyst for the report. “We decided to take a deep dive into what was happening in the neighborhood.”

The report found that this increase in homelessness is partly due to higher-income residents moving into parts of Elmhurst and Corona. The number of households earning at least $100,000 has increased from 8 percent to 17 percent between 2005 and 2013, but those in other income brackets fell.

In the southwest section of Elmhurst and Corona, 15 percent of people were living in poverty while 23 percent of the population in the northeast section lived in poverty, the report shows. In south Corona, 56 percent of residents pay more than half their income on rent, which is double the city average of 28 percent.

In 2013, the need for low-rent apartments was four times higher than the number of apartments available at that rent level ― 5,000 renters competed for just 1,500 units. From 2008 to 2012, low-income housing — defined as units renting for under $600 monthly — shrank by 31 percent, the report found.

Residential and school overcrowding has also increased, causing Elmhurst and Corona to be named the second most overcrowded community district in New York City. Data also shows that two-thirds of elementary and middle schools and 53 percent of high schools were considered overcrowded in school year 2011-2012 compared to 42 percent and 26 percent citywide.

During the 2012-2013 school year, 881 students were considered homeless and more than 1,200 children at local schools were homeless at some point during 2010-2013. According to Erb-Downard, this report used the educational definition of homelessness, which not only includes families living in shelters or other unspecified locations but those doubling or tripling up in homes of family or friends.

About 85 percent of homeless students were living doubled up in 2012-2013, 11 percent lived in shelters and only 4 percent lived in cars, abandoned buildings or other unfit locations, according to the report.

“We tend to be measuring homelessness by the number of families entering the homeless system,” Erb-Downward said. “One thing that [this report] shows is that, across the city, there is a wave of families doubled and tripled up who will be the next families to enter shelters if nothing is done. This is the tip of the iceberg.”

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Tillman March 09, 2016 / 02:03AM
Hence, Cuomo's proposal to increase minimum wage to $15 p/hr which will actually drive out business and further increase the cost of living in NYC. If at all possible, leave NYC for more friendlier cities and states. Unfortunately not many are in the financial position to leave and must be subject to high costs.
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joe March 08, 2016 / 07:12PM
What is so f**king hard to grasp. If you cannot afford to live in NYC, then you DON’T. There are plenty of other cities in the USA where living costs are much lower. Yeah, I don’t like how damn expensive it is here, but if I can no longer afford to live here, I would move and not into some dump homeless shelter. If you cannot afford to take care of yourself, you don’t have kids. If you can only take care of 1 kid, you don’t pop out three. If you cannot afford a $600,000 mortgage, you look for something smaller…………..and so on and so on and so on. Who in their right mind would move to NYC with very little skills or little money, it makes no damn sense. I mean if your skills are picking out cans and bottles from people’s garbage can, then NYC probably is not for you. If you spend all day just roaming around the city with s**t in your pants, you either need medication or you made a bad career choice. Is the future of Queens going to be people with no where to live or worse, filling up a one bedroom apartments with 10 people. Wait, the later is already true. News to some of you folks, The American Dream is Dead, especially here in NYC. I mean what does NYC really get you, juke box musicals on Broadway that cost $150, Duane Reades on every corner and chains galore. Nothing unique here anymore, just keep on moving folks. I know s**t is f**ked up, but a little common sense. It is not Max Max, at least not yet. That will be probably about 50 years down the road, when water becomes a luxury. Don’t laugh, it is true. I want a five bedroom penthouse with a view of Central Park. But you know what, I cannot afford it, so I live in Jamaica for the time being in a nice bed one bedroom that I share with no one. Of course the downside is, it is in Jamaica, but I guess it could be worse, it could be really s**tty Corona, the third world of third world’s that make Jamaica look like Park Slope. But really I don’t want a five bedroom penthouse nor do I need one. RESPONSIBILITY!!!!!!!
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