It sounds ridiculous, but a massive quantity of empty buildings and lots still languishes in the real estate utopia that is Manhattan.
While the city keeps no statistics on vacant property, homeless people knew that this was still a major problem--and had been organizing to see something done about it. In 2006, the organization I work for, Picture the Homeless, collaborated with the office of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer to do a block-by-block count of vacant property.
Our findings show that there are enough potential apartments in vacant buildings and lots in Manhattan alone to house every single homeless person in the five boroughs of NYC. You can download a copy of our report, "Homeless People Count: Vacant Properties in Manhattan," here:
And here's a map of our findings:
(bear in mind that "Vacant Commercial Buildings" indicate commercial properties with vacant space, not necessarily buildings that are completely vacant)
Empty buildings are a problem in every town and city where housing is considered a commodity, and not a right. Since releasing our report, we've heard from folks throughout and beyond the English-speaking world who are interested in doing (or are already doing!) similar work. We'd love to hear other perspectives on *your* local context, existing solutions, and work that's being done to ensure that housing policy and planning incorporates an anti-displacement agenda.