Evictions Skyrocket In Harlem So Far This Year: Data

HARLEM, NY — Winter evictions are skyrocketing in Harlem so far this year.

As of Feb. 21, city marshalls have carried out 159 evictions across Harlem in 2024, according to city eviction data.

During the same time period in 2023, only 94 evictions took place — a staggering 69 percent rise in just one year.

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That same analysis applied across the city still showed an increase so far this year, but of only 34 percent, more than half the rate seen in Harlem.

The numbers in Harlem see a more rapid return to pre-pandemic eviction numbers.

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Looking at the same time period since 2018, the numbers already more closely aligned to both 2018 (161 evictions) and 2019 (167).

Citywide, the numbers more closely resemble 2020 — a time right before the pandemic hit when evictions for both Harlem and the city plummeted.

Last year — a full year after the statewide COVID-19 eviction moratorium had been lifted — Harlem had already eclipsed its 2020 number for that time period by a few evictions.

But citywide, evictions in 2023 were still nearly 1,000 less than the already low 2020 number for that time period.

Advocates say the numbers should be a call to action for state lawmakers to enact eviction reforms, known as “Good Cause” eviction.

“Failing to do so will only allow for evictions to continue to surge, displacing families from their homes and communities onto the streets or into our already overburdened shelter system,” said a spokesperson from the Legal Aid Society.

Michael Tobman, a spokesperson for the Rent Stabilization Association, a landlord advocacy group, told Patch that the data paints an incomplete picture of what might be happening, saying that it raises a series of questions about what kinds of cases had resulted in eviction.

“It’s also important to consider how old the cases are that were acted on as matters can stay in Housing Court for several years,” said Tobman. “And where was government support and social services in these matters – vouchers, ERAP, HRA?”

Iziah Thompson, a senior policy analyst from the Community Service Society, said that it’s a return to “what we like to call an assembly-line style of justice at housing court — and it’s really, really impacting a lot of low-income tenants right now.”

Despite efforts to provide all eligible tenants in housing court with a lawyer, as enshrined in the city’s massively underfunded “right to counsel,” Thompson said many have to go through the housing court process on their own without “proper guidance” from an attorney.

“Tenants need representation in housing court right now,” Thompson said “it’s a basic thing that would completely help this.”

And for those who are evicted, there’s barely any available units to move to in the city.

New York City’s vacancy rate stood at 1.4 percent, a dire sign about the city’s housing market, the housing and vacancy survey released earlier this month found.

The report, which is conducted every three years, also found that the number of households making under $50,000 plummeted while households with incomes over $100,000 increased by 11 percent — or nearly 500,000 households.

“New York City is actually seeing a big increase in high income printers coming into the city and a loss of low income renters,” Thompson said, “especially in areas that are gentrifying, like Harlem.”

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