Housing Advocates Plan Harlem March on Wednesday
Tobias Salinger Aug. 18, 2014, 5:30 p.m.
The coalition of more than 50 housing advocacy groups known as the “Real Affordability for All Coalition” will demonstrate at Harlem’s First Corinthian Baptist Church with speeches and a march on Wednesday afternoon, the groups announced last week.
The collection of religious organizations, neighborhood nonprofits and citywide anti-poverty groups plan to press Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration to require at least 50 percent affordable units in all new residential developments at the event at 1912 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard near 116th Street.
“I am marching along with our members because New York is in desperate need for affordable housing,” said Jonathan Westin, executive director of New York Communities for Change in a prepared statement. “From Hunts Points to East New York, our communities are being priced out and pushed out. We want Mayor Bill de Blasio to insist on 50 percent affordability on all new developments. All new housing should be affordable to residents across income levels who live in the neighborhoods where it will be built.”
The coalition, which includes several organizations that boast ties to the mayor, could place the mayor in a difficult position as it rallies for Mayor de Blasio to create stronger affordability criteria than his predecessor and combat what the groups refer to as the “Brooklyn-ization” of the city.
“The Bloomberg housing plan of the last twelve years has allowed investors to buy up land and property charging much higher rents longtime tenants cannot afford,” said Jose Lopez, an organizer with Make the Road New York, in a prepared statement. “Places like Bushwick, Brooklyn and Jackson Heights, Queens are out of reach for low-income families. While Mayor de Blasio focuses his energy on 200,000 new units, we must be sure that his housing plan includes the lowest income New Yorkers.”
De Blasio spokesman Wiley Norvell said the mayor’s office would include the coalition in discussions around affordable housing.
“We all agree we’re in the midst of an affordability crisis,” Mr. Norvell wrote in an email statement. “We look forward to working with this coalition and other neighborhood stakeholders to maximize affordability in projects across the city.”