Long before the COVID-19 pandemic rolled through and claimed the lives of over five thousand residents to date and plunged The Bronx into economic chaos that pushed the unemployment rate at one point to over 25%, the borough was already grappling with some of the highest eviction filings in the state.
Now, new data from the Statewide Landlord Tenant Eviction Report shows that, for the third year in a row, The Bronx has the highest rates of eviction filing in not just the city but New York State as per filings between January 1st and September 20th of this year.
According to NBC, over 10,000 households in the borough accounting for 2.17% of Bronx households have been served with eviction filings down from 5.59% in 2020 and 13.23% in 2019.
This rate is over twice that of the next county which is Kings, aka Brooklyn, with a rate of 0.86%.
These numbers, however, aren't a surprise given the struggles that many Bronx households have faced throughout the years including extreme rent burden where families are paying well over 30% of their income towards rent.
Last year, a report was released indicating that The Bronx had the greatest threat to affordable housing in New York City with seven out of the top ten community boards facing such a threat located right in the borough.
According to that data, The Bronx leads New York City with the highest rates of eviction, the most rent-burdened residents, tenants making less than the required Area Median Income to qualify for affordable housing, and most residents living in areas with increasing housing prices than any other borough in the city.
Community Board 4, covering areas like Highbridge and Mount Eden, faced the greatest threat to affordable housing in New York City according to that data.
As for the recent eviction filings data, the significant drop in filings is perhaps due to the eviction moratoriums which have been in place since last year when the pandemic began.
The 10457 zip code covering parts of Tremont, Mount Hope, and Crotona, has the most eviction filings so far for 2020 with 889 filed thus far followed by 10467 covering Norwood, Olinville, and Allerton with 846 filings for the year.
For now, residents are still protected under a new eviction moratorium that bars evictions until January 15, 2022 but a new $250 million Supplemental Emergency Rental Assistance program may not help out everyone given that it is only available to households making 80 to 120% of the Area Median Income and in some of the hardest-hit areas of The Bronx, the majority of residents barely make 50% of the AMI.
One thing is for sure, tenants and landlords, particularly owners of smaller, residential properties, will continue to suffer if funding doesn't come through to support both.
What's going to happen come January 15th, 2022 when the moratorium expires? Will it be extended yet again? Chances are slim to none as life returns to somewhat normal.
Residents need to continue to pressure their elected officials if they want true relief of any kind to avert an even bigger crisis once moratoriums expire.