Letters to the Editor: Landlords sparked L.A.’s overcrowding crisis. They got an assist from leaders of the condo industry, who responded to rising rents by offering new ways to rent more, by giving up the rights to affordable housing and building more units. But as many residents have long realized, the price of housing will have to come down or their rent will skyrocket to the point where they can’t afford to move. (Jan. 2)
Rents and rents and rents. I’m all for a reduction in the cost of housing to make owning a home more affordable, but let’s not kid ourselves: The U.S. housing shortage can’t be solved by an increase in what some call’market rent’ where the cost of housing is rising at a rate that is lower than wages of most people.
The housing shortage is a huge problem, and it will be solved by making housing available at a reasonable price. But how we do that is another question, and I don’t expect any leader within any organized group in this debate to explain how that will be done. I think it’s best to ignore those who talk about the need for more housing and focus on the need for affordable housing.
People in many of our cities are trying to get by on so-called market rates, but that will not solve the housing shortage. The problem is the increasing numbers living in single-family homes.
For that matter, single-family homes in many cities, including New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Minneapolis, are increasingly being rented at higher rates and have been since the 1990s, which means that the need for decent, affordable housing has not substantially increased.
As for the need for more housing in those places, how do you measure it? Where is the evidence?
I grew up in New York City and am currently teaching at Brooklyn College. I can tell you that my students don’t want to live in Brooklyn anymore. They want to live in Manhattan, a city that needs more housing.
The students we’ve had were from the inner city, the slums, all the problems of the city that are now being pushed from the edges and are not moving to the core. That’s what happened to the students in the Bronx and Brooklyn.
Students were moved from the Bronx to Brooklyn where rents are going up by more than 20 percent. Students from all over the world, from all over