For decades, many immigrants and people of color have lived in low income apartments up until the day they can better their socio-economic standing. Unfortunately, with the onset of COVID-19, the minorities within NYC have been hardest hit due to their living conditions.

NYC is the ideal place for the pandemic to wreak havoc on citizens for several reasons: NYC has one of the highest population densities within the United States; people of color make up a large portion of essential workers; minorities in the city are the most likely to have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, asthma and coronary diseases. Because of these factors, coronavirus has been especially lethal for communities of color, and their close-quartered, inadequate living conditions fuel the spread of the virus.

NYCHA is the largest public housing authority in North America. It has 328 developments in New York City and tends to over 400,000 residents. Despite hundreds of complaints in recent years, it has yet to fix sanitation issues such as molding. They have opted to bleach and paint over walls that only temporarily fix the problem. However, they did make a plan to fix molding and overheating by 2025, but with the current pandemic, it is critical that NYCHA acts urgently in addressing this issue. In addition to the aforementioned, low income housing has been known to be very overcrowded. One quarter of Asian and Hispanic households units had more than one person per room.

Social distancing, and quarantining are ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This is near impossible in New York City’s public housing units: they are so overcrowded that one quarter of Asian and Hispanic households units had more than one person per room. Consequently, the lives of minorities in NYC are endangered, and will continue to be at risk of serious illness or death unless more attention is focused towards amending the inhabitable living conditions of public housing units.


Howard Husock is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of Who Killed Civil Society? The Rise of Big Government and Decline of Bourgeois Norms and The Trillion-Dollar Housing Mistake: The Failure of American Housing Policy (2003). (2020, May 04). New York's Housing Regime Hurts the Poor. Retrieved October 18, 2020, from

June 25, 2. (2020, August 25). Inside NYC's Public Housing, Mold and Neglect Are a Dangerous Combo. Retrieved October 18, 2020, from

Strum, B. (2020, May 18). Poor, dense neighborhoods in New York's outer boroughs have highest rate of COVID-19 deaths, ZIP Code data shows. Retrieved October 18, 2020, from