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NYCHA and the Pandemic: Impacts on Public Housing Residents

New CSS analysis explores how NYCHA residents have fared during COVID-19 in comparison with low-income tenants living in other rental housing.

By now, it is well known that the COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating, disproportionate impact on communities of color across the nation. For New York City's estimated 400,000 to 600,000 public housing residents—nearly all of them Black and Latinx—NYCHA conditions that prevailed prior to the pandemic also made residents especially susceptible to the virus: densely populated high-rise buildings, deplorable living conditions in aging buildings, many overcrowded apartments, and a largely low-income population with high proportions both of essential workers and of elderly or disabled residents. Questions about NYCHA's capacity to manage its properties under “normal” conditions became even more urgent under the stresses of a raging pandemic. A new blog post from CSS explores the impacts of the pandemic on NYCHA residents—health, economic, and housing impacts—in comparison with low-income tenants living in other rental housing. Our analysis is largely based on our annual Unheard Third survey of low-income New Yorkers, which was fielded during the summer of 2020 and included questions on health, employment, housing security, public benefits, and hardships. Read more to gain some insight into how NYCHA residents and other low-income tenants were faring at that point in time.

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