FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Michael Higgins Jr. September 21, 2016 Community Organizer
(917) 704 – 6994
Memorial & Funeral Procession for Affordable Housing
Brooklyn, NY — On September 22nd, housing justice organizations in New York join tenant groups and allies in over 52 cities across the country will take to the streets for the National Renters Day Of Action. The day of action is being coordinated by Homes For All, a national campaign of housing and land justice organizations formed in 2013 to advance the belief that all people have a human right to housing.
2016 has been a pivotal year in the housing justice movement in New York City. While there were notable campaign wins, from the expiration of the 421A tax subsidy to a rent freeze for one year rent stabilized leases to a dip in tenant evictions, there are numerous setbacks to be faced. The neighborhood wide rezonings proposed as a part of Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan, the placement of private housing on NYCHA grounds and record numbers of citizens finding themselves within the shelter system all negatively impact, or stand to negatively impact, tenants and affordable housing.
Despite overwhelming disapproval at community boards across the city to the Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) policies supported by the mayor, the final versions of each policy that was passed by the City Council still ensures that the hundreds of new developments to be constructed in most communities will remain unaffordable to the majority of current renters. This is the case in East New York which was rezoned this past spring and the process may similarly exclude rent-burdened tenants in other neighborhoods such as the South Bronx, East Harlem, Chinatown and Gowanus.
The corresponding component of the mayor’s housing plan, the construction of market rate units within two current NYCHA developments, is a change in the historical model of public housing as the home to low and moderate income New Yorkers. The housing authority, which currently suffers from a $17 billion capital needs deficit system wide, last September proposed two initial sites for these projects, at Wyckoff Gardens in Boerum Hill and Holmes Towers on the Upper East Side. In addition to generating revenue to make urgent repairs at these specific developments, these new buildings also contribute to the 80,000 new units promised by the mayor’s plan. However, ongoing concerns remain about the affordability of the housing for local residents as well as the promises of repairs for these NYCHA developments which have been neglected for decades.
It is the culmination of these threats, among others, to tenants in public housing and in the private market that we have mobilized for the Renters Day of Action.
Homes For All has released the following Renters Day Of Action national demands:
- A freeze on all unjust evictions and rent increases
- The establishment of a national livable rent standard to restrict rents to 30% of a family income and a livable wage for all workers.
- The right of all tenants to organize and bargain collectively with landlords without fear of discrimination, retaliation or eviction.
- The transfer of vacant, foreclosed and underused land to community control through community land trusts and cooperatives to meet the needs of communities of color and working class communities that have historically been targeted from disinvestment to redlining to the foreclosure crisis and the current eviction epidemic
“We are proud to join with groups across Brooklyn and the country in supporting the Right to the City Renters Day of Action” said Dave Powell of the Fifth Avenue Committee. “We mourn the loss of affordable places and spaces for low- and moderate income Brooklynites but moreover we are outraged at the displacement of our neighbors. On this day of sorrow and anger we are also hopeful at the wide and diverse actions that tenants across the city are taking to affirm their right to stay and protect our communities. From the Stabilizing NYC Coalition, which organizes against predatory corporate landlords, to the Stand for Tenant Safety campaign which aims to stop ‘eviction through construction’, to the Asthma Free Homes Campaign, which demands better code enforcement for tenants with respiratory illness, to the public housing residents pushing back against the NYCHA infill plan at Wyckoff Gardens, to the tenants standing up in Gowanus to demand protections against harassment before the City rezones their neighborhood, to the individuals who band together with their neighbors to fight bad housing conditions or displacement from their buildings – tenants across NYC are on the move!”
“Citywide action is the only way we will ever turn the tide against the real estate developers, landlords, and politicians who relentlessly assault all of our communities. This is not just about what is happening in our own neighborhoods. That is why Washington Heights and Inwood stand in solidarity with FUREE and everyone fighting for housing rights in Brooklyn.”
– NMN4S, Northern Manhattan is Not for Sale/Alto Manhattan No Se Vende
“Decent, stable, and affordable housing is key to creating strong communities that strengthen our city and cities nationwide this is true for Public Housing, stabilized tenants, as well as market rate apartments. As NY tenants, we stand with tenants nationwide in fighting back to stay in our homes and afford our rent.”
– Metropolitan Council on Housing
Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network (BAN)
Carroll Gardens Association (CGA)
Community Action for Safe Apartments (CASA)
Families United for Racial & Economic Equality (FUREE)
Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC)
Flatbush Tenant Coalition (FTC)
Metropolitan Council on Housing
Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NHN)
Northern Manhattan is Not for Sale/Alto Manhattan No Se Vende (NMN4S)
Rent Justice Coalition (RJC)
Stabilizing NYC (SNYC)
St. Nick’s Alliance (SNA)