Soaring Property Values Cause Housing Crisis for Brooklyn Seniors

    by

    Brooklyn politicians are leading an investigation into the controversial closing of Park Slope’s assisted living facility, Prospect Park Residence, above, alleging that owner Haysha Deitsch may have committed fraud by admitting new residents after he applied to the Department of Health for permission to close. They are also calling on Governor Cuomo to temporarily halt the closure, according to a story in the Brooklyn Eagle.

    Legislation introduced by State Assemblywoman Joan Millman to bar closing of any senior living facility while its effects are studied would not affect this particular one, said the story. At another rally Saturday to save the center, residents and their families said other homes in Brooklyn have no room for the displaced residents and the stress is causing illness and deaths.

    For seniors, there are few housing options in Brooklyn or other boroughs, according to The New York TimesFor those who need an assisted living facility or medical care, there are few market-rate options because real estate is so valuable here. For those still living on their own, few can afford an apartment, even a rent stabilized one. Waiting lists for affordable senior housing have thousands on them. One 71-year-old man couch surfs in relatives’ apartments in public housing in Bed Stuy and downtown Brooklyn and sometimes sleeps in his car, said the Times.

    As serious as New York’s affordable housing shortage has become, the squeeze has been perhaps harshest on older adults. At a certain age, substandard living conditions become less tolerable, walk-ups are no longer viable, even stabilized rents become too high, and the need for housing with special services grows. The intensifying demand for housing for aging adults already overwhelms the existing offerings, especially for the poor, senior services providers say. And the city, they say, has no comprehensive housing plan to accommodate an aging population.

    “Almost a quarter of older adults in the city live in poverty,” the story continued. “Of the 165,000 affordable housing units created or preserved under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, fewer than 10,000 were set aside for older residents, the Council of Senior Centers and Services said in a recent report urging Mr. Bloomberg’s successor, Bill de Blasio, to increase those numbers.”

    If something is not done, there will be an explosion of elderly living in homeless shelters, said Comptroller Scott Stringer.

    Up in Years and All But Priced out of New York [NY Times]
    Seniors, Officials Call for Investigation of Park Slope Nursing Home Closure [Brooklyn Eagle]
    Park Slope Senior Housing Coverage [Brownstoner]

    What's Happening