Housing Advocacy Update

LEFSA members attended two events on February 18 to advocate for more and better housing opportunities for those living in extreme poverty in NYC.

The first event was a Teach-in and City Hall Rally on Mayor de Blasio’s inclusionary housing plan.
The de Blasio administration has developed an ambitious plan to produce and preserve 200,000 units of housing over ten years. A key element of this plan is a change in New York zoning regulations that would make mandatory, the inclusion of “lower than market rate” housing in any building developments in areas where zoning changes will allow construction of higher buildings.
However, we and many of our allies have determined that the Mayor’s current plan is likely to result in significant displacement of many of the residents of the communities in which this new housing would be built.
The aim of this meeting and rally was to learn how we can work to encourage the New York City Council to vote on improvements to the Mayor’s Inclusionary housing plan that will produce truly affordable housing while preserving neighborhoods and protecting tenants.

The second meeting of the day was a panel discussion sponsored by the Peace and Justice Task Force of the historic Unitarian Universalist Church of All Souls on the topic of Homelessness Housing and Inequality in NYC. The title of this discussion was: The Future of Housing, Homelessness and Inequality in New York City: What is Possible, and What Can We Do?
The evening began with a reception at 6:30 pm with a performance by the Raging Grannies.
Speakers included:
Lucille McEwen, Esq. – Executive Deputy Commissioner for Capacity and Planning, NYC Department of Homeless Services
Nazima Ali – Formerly homeless mother and peer facilitator with the Living Well life-skills empowerment program for domestic violence survivors
Emily Goldstein – Senior Campaign Organizer, Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development
Stephan Russo – Executive Director, Goddard Riverside Community Center
Moderator:  Marc Greenberg – Executive Director, Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing
Watch a video of this panel discussion.

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