Clinton and Sanders have yet to address the ubiquitous housing affordability crisis in New York City that is displacing longtime residents and potential voters
Braced against the wind whistling down her Brooklyn street in between chilly April showers, Tatiana Williams looked up at the concrete housing block ahead and wondered how much longer she would be able to carry on living there.
They are developing so much around here, its gotten really expensive. Some of the affordable places are trying to go private, its happened to the building next to mine, and when that occurs lower- to middle-income families leave but if we leave, where we gonna live at? she asked.
Williams, 42, is a single mother and drives an F train on the New York City subway, earning $34,000 a year.
She glanced towards the Brooklyn Bridge in one direction and the popular shopping area of downtown Brooklyn in the other, where gleaming luxury buildings have been springing up and the rent for a one-bedroom could easily swallow her entire salary.
What she hadnt realized was that she was walking past Hillary Clintons presidential campaign headquarters.
A few blocks away, Clinton and Democratic rival Bernie Sanders who was born in the borough will face each other for their next debate on Thursday in a venue at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a post-industrial boatyard thats being transformedinto an upscale business park.
The average price of an apartment in Manhattan hit a record $2m in April. And Brooklyn has been declared the most unaffordable housing market in America, based on median house prices relative to wages in the citys rapidly gentrifying borough, according to the national data analysis firm RealtyTrac. San Francisco came second, Manhattan third.
RealtyTrac calculated that the median price of a home in Brooklyn, according to public sale records they analyzed, is $615,000 and a Brooklyn resident earning the median gross income for the borough, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of $835 a week, would have to spend 98% of that to afford their home, based on mortgage, property tax and insurance payments.
But the presidential candidates now battling for a win in the delegate-rich New York state primary on 19 April havent said a word about what experts declare is a housing affordability crisis pushing average New Yorkers to the margins or out of the city altogether.
That is perhaps not surprising for Republican Ted Cruz, who decries the New York values of towny liberals and wants to abolish the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development that supports public and low-income housing, or his GOP rival Donald Trump, the native New Yorker whose gilded developments from Manhattan to Las Vegas that scream ostentation.
Theyve talked about jobs, civil rights, Black Lives Matter, immigration, the minimum wage, education but, specifically, housing just has not registered. We are hoping that will change now that they are here in New York City, but it hasnt happened yet and the primary is next week already, said Victor Bach, senior housing policy analyst at the Community Service Society of New York (CSS), an advocacy group and thinktank focusing on low-income community needs.