Call on Mayor De Blasio to Invest $2 Billion to Preserve the Housing Stock Rather than Promote Private Development on Public Land
New York, NY (10/20/2015) – Over 250 public housing residents from Holmes Towards and developments across the City rallied in front of Holmes Towers and then marched through the Upper East Side to Gracie Mansion this evening. The rally and march was organized by a public housing leadership team supported by Community Voices Heard, a membership organization of low-income New Yorkers.
“We are marching today to stop private development on NYCHA land and win the funding we need to preserve our homes.” said Saundrea Coleman, resident of Isaac Towers in Manhattan and member-leader of Community Voices Heard.
At Gracie Mansion, as guests of a Gala in the Mansion looked on, residents constructed a mock private development in front of the Mayor’s mansion.
Over 450,000 New Yorkers live in public housing across the 5 boroughs and it serves as one of the last bastions of affordable housing in NYC. Under-funded by the federal, state, and city governments, the housing stock is falling into disrepair and residents are forced to live in inhumane and uninhabitable conditions, including living with toxic mold, threatening their abilities to lead healthy lives.
“All around the city public housing residents, including my own daughter, are getting sick with asthma because the city has failed to get rid of toxic mold infesting our apartments,” said Javier Sepulveda, resident of Clinton Houses in Manhattan and member-leader of Community Voices Heard.
Mayor Bill de Blasio committed to supporting public housing and opposed Bloomberg’s Infill plan when he was running for office and slept over in Lincoln Houses in Manhattan. His progressive commitment, however, is now under question. “If the mayor wants me to vote for him again he must act like the progressive I voted for and invest in our right to healthy housing,” Said Sepulveda. Holmes Towers is one of two public housing developments that NYCHA recently announced would have private developments built upon them.
While Mayor de Blasio and NYCHA Chair Shola Olatoye say that this is the only way to raise sufficient resources to preserve the housing stock, residents believe that the lack of deeply affordable units being proposed will only exacerbate gentrification in their communities and that NYCHA residents will not get enough out of this deal.
“So far Mayor de Blasio’s investment in public housing simply is not enough. Private development and privatization will only make matter worse.” Said Darnell Brown, resident of Isaacs Towers in Manhattan and floor captain for Community Voices Heard.
Instead, given how critical the public housing stock is to our City’s infrastructure, residents believe that significant resources need to be invested by the City and State, much like the recently agreed upon commitment to the MTA.
“We need the Mayor and the Governor to dedicate resources to NYCHA like they are to MTA. The future of our City – as a home to all, rather than a home to an elite few – depends on it!,” said Roxanne Reid, resident of Castle Hill Houses in the Bronx and member-leader of Community Voices Heard.
The group is calling for a “People’s NYCHA Plan”, rather than a plan for privatization and further gentrification, and is calling on the City and the State to each commit $2 Billion towards capital repairs in the next fiscal year. This will go a long way towards meeting the true $17 Billion needs that NYCHA will face over the next 10 years and demonstrate a true commitment to housing the poor and working class in New York City.
Community Voices Heard (www.CVHaction.org) is a membership organization of low-income families with chapters in New York City, Westchester, Orange, and Dutchess Counties. CVH organizes around a variety of issues, one of which is truly affordable housing – including public housing. CVH membership in NYC consists of public housing and public assistance residents in all five boroughs, as well as low-wage workers.
Photos from the rally and march will be posted on our website here bit.ly/March2Mayor.