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The affordable housing crisis is forcing some people into basements

Andie Corban and Kai Ryssdal Oct 30, 2019
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Expensive housing in big cities like New York are pushing some people into illegal basement apartments.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Housing in big cities is some of the most expensive in the country. In New York, those high prices are pushing some people into illegal basement apartments. Host Kai Ryssdal spoke with Nikita Stewart from the New York Times about her article looking at immigrants living in basement dwellings in Queens.

Stewart reported on one immigrant named Amado who shared a basement with several other men.

“It is dark, even during the day,” Stewart said about Amado’s apartment, which has one window. “From floor to ceiling it is less than 7 feet.”

Although there is no official count, Stewart said there are likely tens of thousands of basement apartments like Amado’s.

“If they did not exist, the city would have a much more dire affordable housing crisis than it already has,” she said.

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