The Housing Crunch

Entry type: Single project

Country/area: United States

Publishing organisation: NYCity News Service: nycitynewsservice.com

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 2022-01-07

Language: English

Authors: Audrey Carleton, Anna Deen, Anny Oberlink, Jessica Lerner, Jacob Schermerhorn, Alexandra White


(Note: All worked on this project while students at the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.)
• Audrey Carleton: Audrey investigates oil and gas and its harms in Pennsylvania for Capital & Main.
• Anna Deen: Anna is a data visualization reporter at Grid.
• Anny Oberlink: Anny is a freelance multimedia journalist.
• Jessica Lerner: Jessica is the Markets reporter at The Bond Buyer.
• Jacob Schermerhorn: Jacob writes for the Rochester Beacon.
• Alexandra White: Alexandra is a breaking news reporter at Financial Times.

Project description:

New York, one of the most expensive cities in the world, is also home to some of the poorest families in the U.S.

As the pandemic roils the economy in ways that disproportionately affect low-wage workers and people of color, more and more families in the city are struggling to get by.

In this special report, the NYCity News Service, part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, documents the spread of housing insecurity and the need for government-aid programs. We also share the data underlying our reporting.

Impact reached:

The project shined a light on how the housing costs increases slamming New Yorkers in recent years reached a new level of crisis during the pandemic, as many people in the areas hardest hit by COVID grappled with illness, unemployment and an emergency safety net plagued by gaping holes.

Techniques/technologies used:

For our story examining delays in pandemic-releated emergency rent assistance in the Bronx, N.Y., we gathered and analyzed data on applications for the New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) between 06/2021 and 10/2021, sourced via the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. We also looked at data detailing population, race and evictions executed in 2019. Using datawrapper, we created charts and maps showing emergency rental applications in NYC by ZIP Code, as well as by county.

For our story on housing insecurity, we analyzed New York City’s unemployment rate for the year of 2020 by census tract and median income and market rental rate data sets from 01/2014 to 08/2020. We looked at estimates of unemployment and labor force participation by race, education, age, gender, marital status, and citizenship, via census tracts. We also looked at data on rising rents, collected via Zillow.

We created interactive charts showing which NYC neighborhoods experienced the highest rent increases between 2014 and 2021. We also drilled down into how one neighborhood — East New York, Brooklyn, an area with one of NYC’s highest poverty rates — logged major increases in the cost of housing.

Context about the project:

Our reporters responded in near real-time to an unprecedented crisis, analyzing publically available data to gain insight. And we showed our work, via Github, here: [https://github.com/annyoberlink/2021-10-erap-analysis](https://) and here: [https://github.com/annadeen2/data-analysis-housing-insecurity](https://).

What can other journalists learn from this project?

Other journalists can replicate our approach by examining similar issues outside of New York City. They can also replicate our approach by sharing their underlying data and methodology in the hopes of helping other journalists. And they can also download our data sets and use them for their own reporting.

Project links: