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The New Segregation: Low-income residents in London and New York are forced to use 'poor doors' separated from the rich

Poor doors

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(NaturalNews) Considerable outrage was expressed by Brits as the "poor door" policy began there recently. Poor doors are designated for low income people who are granted tenancy in designated budget apartments that occupy upscale buildings with amenity restrictions, including entering from the back door only.

According to London's Mail Online, "London Mayor Boris Johnson is facing calls to ban 'poor doors' in upmarket blocks of flats, which force people on low incomes to use different entrances.

"Developers in London are promising wealthy tenants they will not have to share their smart lobby entrances, courtyard gardens or secure parking with people living in flats classed as 'affordable housing.'"

It smacks of the class distinctions that the British have been famous for, but they stole this idea from New York City (NYC), USA. The practice of mixing in a few affordable apartments for lower income people was purportedly enacted to reduce "ghettos" for the rich. But perhaps this policy works both ways to also prevent slum-like ghettos.

Lately, some NYC and London developers who build new buildings or renovate older buildings into luxury apartments with concierge-staffed lobbies and other amenities have been mandated to reserve some units for lower-income renters.

In order to encourage wealthy prospects and keep service maintenance costs down, the well-off are assured that they won't be mixing with the rabble, because they won't even be using the same lobby entrance, gardens, rooftops, mailbox area, swimming pool, gym and other amenities. But they can point to the outside of the building and say, "That's where I live!"

What's happening in New York City

Manhattan is the island borough that features most of the action, glamor and glitz for which NYC is known. Manhattan and all of NYC's five boroughs have had rent control measures for decades, since WWII. It simply prevents one's rent from being raised in an apartment that one has been occupying. When the renter leaves, the rent can be raised to whatever the market will bear.

Conversely, when a developer renovates a building to create new luxury apartments, the sky's the limit on rents, co-op shares or condominiums. But the current policy model from NYC that London is now using demands that some units remain for those with lower incomes. In many cases, the developers compensate with poor door policies.

Some NYC activists who have enjoyed their apartments under rent control in buildings now renovated with poor door policies are forming coalitions and complaining, even though their current rent is still protected by rent control laws. They're complaining because some simple amenities, like coming in through the front door or gathering socially on rooftops, are being denied them.

In NYC, the annual income limit for affordable housing is currently $36,120 for individuals and $51,540 for a family of four. Consider that many within those income brackets are struggling actors, writers and musicians. After all, this is Manhattan.

Others are divorced individuals as well as single senior citizens on fixed incomes. In short, they are not all low-lives, which are more common among large-family Section 8 renters in other locations.

On the other hand, developers feel that they have the right to distribute services according to whatever makes things work for them to attract high-end renters. Discouraging current rent control occupants from staying by denying amenities can open up newly vacated rental units with full amenities for higher prices.

Manhattan's current borough president, Gail Brewer, admitted that it was too late to do anything legislatively to stop the current poor doors policies, because they were approved under existing laws during prior NYC mayor Bloomberg's administration.

But she and other politicians are vowing to amend these practices in the future.

Sources for this article include:





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