Accountable Development

"Peace cannot exist without justice, justice cannot exist without fairness, fairness cannot exist without development, development cannot exist without democracy, democracy cannot exist without respect for the identity and worth of cultures and peoples."  --Rigoberta Menchu

FUREE at the Wall Street action. Fighting back Bloomberg's cut backs furee onmay12 The Downtown Brooklyn Accountable Development Campaign started in response to market-led development prompted by the city's Downtown Brooklyn Rezoning Plan of 2004. Since then, FUREE has engaged over 3,000 local area residents, allies to work towards addressing the negative impacts of market-led development that effectively displaced many low-income and working class families and small businesses while limiting access to basic support services our families need to break the cycle of poverty.

This member-led campaign has won two court battles against eminent domain including working with community groups to prevent the demolition of Underground Rail Road Stations on Duffield Street; the second, forcing the City of New  York to provide relocation assistance to families evicted through eminent domain on Albee Square West.

Currently, and in response to the economic recession, this campaign focuses on winning changes in three main areas to ensure a sustainable local economy and protect low income and working families of color from being pushed out the community they helped build: affordable housing, sustainable jobs and access to healthy, affordable food.

Affordable Housing Goals:

  • Preserve the current stock of affordable and low income housing in Fort Greene and Downtown Brooklyn
  • Increase affordable housing development and conversion of underutilized condominium units in Fort Greene and Downtown Brooklyn
  • Ensure the relocation of displaced residents of Albee Square West into city owned or managed affordable housing
  • Identify public policy work to redefine affordable housing parameters in publicly subsidized developments
  • Hold developers, elected officials and city agencies accountable to inclusive community development
  • Use this work to inform regional and national organizing affordable housing preservation efforts

Food Justice Goals:

  • Increase access to healthy, affordable food and sustainable jobs for low income residents of Fort Greene
  • Force John Catsimatidis of the Red Apple Group to build healthy, affordable supermarket that provides local jobs for public housing residents
  • Mobilize area residents to create community-controlled alternatives to increase access to healthy, affordable foods and sustainable food systems
  • Work with community and labor partners to develop a food-grocers apprenticeship program using Section 3 funding; use this work and findings to inform other food-grocers apprenticeship programs that will open access to food/grocers’ careers
  • Work with the City to expand healthier options in bodegas in supermarket deserts in NYC

Sustainable Jobs Goals:

  • Increase employment placement, training and retention services to increase good job access opportunities in the affordable housing (construction, maintenance, management); retail (ownership, management, support services) and public housing sectors
  • Work with RWDSU to win the Living Wage NYC bill that calls for living wages and health benefits for workers employed in publicly subsidized developments/commercial buildings
  • Win increased placement of unemployed and underemployed public housing residents through Section 3 (a federally-mandated jobs training and placement program for publc housing residents) and ensure that placements also include career opportunities in emerging job sectors, including green jobs.
  • Directly address the statewide revenue crisis to win increased job creation in New York State

To find out how to get involved in this campaign, contact Lucas Shapiro at (718) 852-2960 x. 306 or send e-mail to lucas[at]furee[dot]org.

The Affordable Housing Crisis-A Community Discussion with Elected Officials

When: Thursday, January 15, 2015 - 6:00pm - 8:30pm

Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church
85 South Oxford St. (corner of Lafayette Ave)

Topics will include:
Stabilizing the Affordable Housing Supply
The Expiring Rent Laws
Organizing for Action

To RSVP or for more information, contact 718.643.6140 or email ojonas [at] nysenate [dot] gov

FUREE In the Media

On Fulton Street, Worries About Change

New York Times, 09/21/2013 -

Note: FUREE organizer Lucas Shapiro and member leader Lorena Watler spent an hour with this reporter walking around Downtown Brooklyn, trying to expand the narrative beyond a rather surface-level discussion of what people think of new stores coming into the area. 
Read more »

FUREE Joins Unions & Electeds in Lawsuit to Stop City Point Project

On May 1st, FUREE joined allied unions and elected officials as the lead petitioners in a lawsuit challenging Downtown Brooklyn's largest development project.  The lawsuit represents an escalation in the community-labor joint effort to win good jobs and fair development at City Point. Read more »

ACTION ALERT: Help Re-open the Gowanus Community Center!

Gowanus Houses, Brooklyn, NY
Help in the fight to reopen the Gowanus Community Center!

The Center is where FUREE set up relief efforts following the loss of heat, electricity and hot water following Hurricane Sandy. When relief efforts ended, the Center went right back to doing what it did: nothing.

Volunteers are needed to help survey residents on what programs they would like to see there.
FUREE In the Media

Downtown Brooklyn Rebranded

Atlantic Yards Report, 02/13/2013 -

Forget the old website for the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. It's all, baby.

It's part of a re-branding to encompass the growth and gentrification of Downtown Brooklyn. Nothing wrong with that, right?
Read more »

Interactive Workshop: What is "Affordable Housing"?

When: Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm

FUREE's offices - 81 Willoughby St., Suite 701 in Downtown Brooklyn (between Bridge and Lawrence).

The term “affordable housing” is frequently used in policy demands, community conversations, and in the media. Yet the very words beg the question “affordable to whom”? 

What is Affordable Housing Workshop

This interactive workshop using popular education materials designed by CUP seeks to answer this and other questions, such as: Read more »

ACTION ALERT: Inducting City Point into "Developer Hall of Shame"

Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Steps of City Hall (Manhattan).

Join FUREE, our friends at ALIGN and members of the building trades unions as we induct the controversial City Point mega-project into the "Corporate Tax Dodgers Hall of Shame"!

As the largest development in Downtown Brooklyn, City Point has failed to bring good jobs or other community benefits to the area, despite sitting on public land and getting millions in public dollars. Expect mock skits, chants and other fun surprises!
Read more »

Labor and Community Organizations Call for Fair and Equitable Rebuilding After Hurricane Sandy

FUREE joins other Non-Profits, Unions, and Faith-Based Groups to Urge Local and National Leaders to Create Transparent, Community-Driven Rebuilding Process

We Must Learn Lessons From Hurricane Katrina, Group Asserts in the Following Open Letter: Read more »

Report from rally for Good Jobs & Fair Developmenmt at City Point

On Tuesday, December 18th, FUREE members joined union workers from the building trades, allied organizations and local elected officials for a joint rally at the largest development site in Downtown Brooklyn.

Click here for a video summary of the rally and by sure to check out our caroling crew in action! Read more »

FUREE In the Media

Unions rally against Downtown’s City Point development

The Brooklyn Paper, 12/19/2012 -

Hundreds of union workers rallied at the under-construction City Point development in Downtown on Tuesday and accused developer Acadia Realty Trust of short-changing the non-union laborers building the massive housing and retail complex — which received a $20-million federal bailout in 2009.

A coalition of unions including sheet metal workers and carpenters argued they should have been tapped for the job and claimed project officials had no excuse for not paying higher wages to the non-union construction crew employed at the Dekalb Avenue site because the development received the tax-exempt stimulus funds.

Rally-goers — including politicians and members of the Brooklyn-based community group Families United for Racial and Economic Equality — chanted, blew whistles, and carried signs that read: “Acadia got bailed out; Brooklyn got sold out!”

Read more »

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