Surprise - Affluent Long Island Hit Hard By Subprime Crisis

Editorial: Long Island is one of the nation's most affluent suburbs. With very high housing values and located by NYC, it would be not expected to be hit hard by the subprime crisis. But it has - and its roots lie in its racially segregated past.

"Long Island's two counties, Suffolk and Nassau, are first and fourth in the number of loans at risk of foreclosure in New York State. It was not supposed to be hit this hard, because of its affluence, highly desirable housing stock and relative lack of room to sprawl.' Its roots lie in its racially segregated development.

"Long Island now has two housing crises, an acute new one laid over a chronic old one. The old one is a severe shortage of housing for regular people, in a market pathologically skewed by racial segregation and not-in-my-backyard resistance to responsible development.

The island remains one of the most segregated suburbs in the country, designed from the days of its earliest tract homes to be a haven of white aspiration. For years, African-American homeowners were shunted to tightly bounded neighborhoods that became self-perpetuating pockets of poverty with severely underperforming school districts.

The disaster is particularly acute in black and Latino communities, where subprime loans were advertised heavily. The Empire Justice Center found that the three Suffolk communities with the highest foreclosure risk - Amityville, Brentwood and Central Islip - are home to a full 30 percent of the county's African-American homeowners. Nassau's three hardest-hit areas - Hempstead, Freeport and Elmont - are home to 42 percent of its black homeowners."

Thanks to Mark Boshnack

Full Story: Editorial: Island of Lost Homes

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