Scandals, Voters & the Disappearing Poor - August 2012


If you haven’t heard about it by now, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has been under fire for “sitting on” $1B in unused federal funds while residents are forced to live in disrepair.  This scandal raises serious questions about what exactly is going on with NYCHA’s money and management.

On August 8th, FUREE members joined Mothers on the Move, Good Old Lower East Side and Community Voices Heard for a press conference led by public housing residents to demand NYCHA “move the money”, hire residents to make back-logged repairs, establish independent oversight and increase resident control.

After the press conference in front of NYCHA’s HQ we marched to the offices of Housing & Urban Development and secured a meeting with HUD officials on the spot!

Check out media coverage on the NYDaily News and a radio report on WBAI to check out what our members have to say.  Click here for photos from the lively action.

The latest news is that NYCHA is reorganizing its board but with fears of privatization looming for all public services, including public housing, we can’t risk losing the city’s largest affordable housing stock! NO WAY!

To protect public housing, win more resident control and ensure NYCHA becomes a sustainable community for all its residents, join us at our next Public Housing Organizing meeting on Tues., Sept. 18th at the FUREE office. To sign up, contact Val at valery at furee dot org or call (718) 852-2960 x. 301.



This summer, our youth canvassers hit the streets of Brooklyn to register 1,000 new voters. This coming weekend, FUREE is bringing the power of voting to the 8th Annual Afro-punk Festival at Commodore Barry Park…housands of music fans, Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae and FUREE! Your weekend couldn’t possibly get any better!

We are looking for volunteers to register new voters, get folks to vote and build political power for our communities on Saturday and Sunday. Stipends may be available for active members—first come, first served. If you are interested, please contact Dez at dez at furee dot org or call 718-852-2960 x. 307 no later than Thursday, Aug. 23 at noon.



FUREE co-hosted two standing-room only screenings of the award-winning documentary My Brooklyn last month.  In total, over 400 of you came out for this remarkable film and the engaging community dialogue about gentrification and development issues in our borough.  

Click here for photos from the events featuring Council Member Letitia James, filmmaker Kelly Anderson, FUREE leaders and allied advocates.

A special note of gratitude goes out to the Fifth Avenue Committee and FilmWax for partnering with us.  Be sure to check out the rest of FilmWax’s Brooklyn Reconstructed monthly documentary series!

Want to help FUREE organize another neighborhood screening of My Brooklyn?  Contact Lucas at lucas at furee dot org or 718-852-2960 x306 to help out!



With the pending destruction of the only affordable, rent-stabilized apartments in the Fulton Mall area, and new mega-developments like City Point pretending people earning under $50K don’t exist, you have to wonder… Are the poor and working-class being erased from Downtown Brooklyn?

Check out “Downtown Evictees: The City Is Booting us from Brooklyn”  to read more about the immigrant families at 402, 404, and 406 Albee Square West who have long suffered through deplorable living conditions, including not having gas for over 4 months!  

FUREE is still waiting on Housing Preservation and Development to finally meet with us, the remaining Albee Square tenants and their lawyers.  We must ensure their rights are respected and that HPD work with us to find tenants affordable housing in the area.  It’s a travesty that despite billions of dollars pumped into Downtown Brooklyn in recent years, there is not a single, new unit of housing these families could afford.

More broadly, FUREE members are promoting balanced development throughout the area by ensuring that the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership’s recently unveiled “Strategic Plan” addresses the needs of low-income families.  You wouldn’t know from the DBP’s presentation that alongside the new luxury towers and chain stores, we have the poorest Census tract in all of Brooklyn.

To get involved in these efforts through our Accountable Development Campaign, contact Lucas at 718-852-2960 x306 / lucas at furee dot orglucas [at] furee [dot] org.  Our next campaign meeting is on Sept. 11th at 6pm here at FUREE.



It’s time to whip out your paper calendars or your smart phone scheduler! 

FUREE’s 10th Annual Convention is set for Saturday, September 29th from 12-4pm at St. Joseph’s High School in Downtown Brooklyn (80 Willoughby St).  This year’s MLK Jr.-inspired “Chaos or Community?” theme is a call to unite our struggle against rising inequality and the need for jobs, housing and justice for all.

We’ll be sending out updates over the coming weeks, but expect a fierce line-up of speakers, performers, group activities, lunch on the house, and a powerful, powerful action!

Providing lunch for hundreds of members, printing materials and renting space for the Convention really does add up.  Support FUREE and our Convention by setting up a tax-deductible monthly subscription – or donate $50, $25 of whatever you can on our on-line donation page.

To help us shape the Convention, to be an endorser or support our outreach to FUREE members, allies and neighborhood residents, contact Dez at dez at furee dot org .