Panel at Hofstra addresses connections between racial segregation, affordable housing on LI
A panel discussion at Hofstra University Thursday looked at the connection between racial segregation and affordable housing issues on Long Island.
Long Island native Samir Lavingia experienced his own battle with finding affordable housing when a former landlord told him his rent would increase 25% the following year. With a month before the increase went into effect, he started to panic.
"It all came to a head where I just broke down crying at my desk one day because it's an incredible amount of pressure to be in where you're looking every day, trying to find a place to live, and there's just, there's just nothing in your price range,” he said.
He was able to find more affordable housing but unfortunately, he’s not alone in this problem.
The panel started with a discussion of the book “Just Action: How to Challenge Segregation Enacted Under the Color of Law” with the book’s author Leah Rothstein.
ERASE Racism President Laura Harding says Long Islanders of color, however, aren’t the only ones suffering.
"Seniors aren't able to stay in their communities because there's not affordable housing. Young couples cannot purchase starter homes,” she said. “Young college graduates are actually leaving Long Island and going to other places."
Open New York Executive Director Annemarie Gray says part of the solution lies in increasing the supply of affordable housing on Long Island, but she says it’s not that simple.
"We've made it illegal to build the cheapest forms of housing and that's actually built into a lot of our zoning codes and a lot of our land use processes and things that the average person doesn't really think about,” she said. "We're at a point where unless you're extremely, extremely wealthy, you're struggling with housing."
Advocates say part of the solution also lies in communities coming together to create more inclusive housing options.