Home / Top Story / Thousands slam Mayor de Blasio's housing plan in City Hall rally

Thousands slam Mayor de Blasio's housing plan in City Hall rally

Thousands of senior citizens, NYCHA residents, teachers and church parishioners turned out in the pouring rain Monday to call out Mayor de Blasio for falling short on his pledge to make housing in the city affordable to New Yorkers.

Congregants from churches around the city, organized by the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, packed the block outside City Hall to push the mayor to get behind their own plan — which includes building 15,000 apartments for seniors on vacant NYCHA land.

“We will be confrontational with the mayor. We will be wherever he shows up,” said Rev. Daryl Bloodsaw of the First Baptist Church of Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

De Blasio was invited to the rally, but was marching at the time in the Columbus Day parade — where he was met by boos from parade goers over his refusal to rule out removing a statue of Christopher Columbus at Columbus Circle.

5,000 demonstrators plan to rip de Blasio’s housing plan

“We’re here to save the soul of our city, but the mayor’s not here today,” said Rev. David Brawley, a Metro IAF leader and pastor of St. Paul Community Baptist Church.

Organizers recently met with de Blasio at Gracie Mansion to pitch their plan, but got a noncommittal response.

“All he sent us was a form letter,” Brawley said. “We want commitment.”

Metro IAF wants the city to designate more apartments for people making $  20,000 to $  35,000 a year, who would pay no more than $  875 a month.

Metro IAF wants the city to designate more apartments for people making $ 20,000 to $ 35,000 a year, who would pay no more than $ 875 a month.

(Metro Industrial Areas Foundation)

Middle school teacher Amber Harrison said she moved to New Jersey because housing in the city was too expensive, but still commutes up to two hours each way to her school in East New York.

Holding de Blasio to his affordable housing promise

One of her top students recently became homeless after his parents split up and his mother couldn’t afford the rent, she said. “My student was ashamed and embarrassed and refused to accept help. But he shouldn’t be ashamed,” she said. “The mayor should be ashamed and embarrassed.”

De Blasio is pursuing a plan to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing, but many have complained that even apartments considered affordable by city standards are too expensive.

Metro IAF wants the city to designate more apartments for people making $ 20,000 to $ 35,000 a year, who would pay no more than $ 875 a month.

The group says 15,000 senior units could go on lawns and parking lots at NYCHA properties, and seniors in NYCHA would get first crack at the units, freeing up their often large NYCHA apartments for younger families.

New Yorkers rallying for de Blasio to take action on NYCHA

They also want the city to spend $ 17 billion to fix decrepit conditions at public housing.

Senior citizens, NYCHA residents, teachers, and church parishioners rallied outside of City Hall on October 9, 2017.

Senior citizens, NYCHA residents, teachers, and church parishioners rallied outside of City Hall on October 9, 2017.

(Metro Industrial Areas Foundation)

Breukelen Houses resident Tita Concepcion said broken doors and locks at the Canarsie complex allow intruders to hang out in the lobby — including a man who recently tried to stick his hands down her daughter’s pants when she bent down to pick up a package.

“I am tired of living in an unsafe building,” she said. “She fought him off, thank God, she wasn’t hurt, but she should not have had to have gone through that. If we had doors, locks, intercoms that work, he never would have been in that lobby.”

De Blasio’s office says the city has not received specific site of funding proposals for the 15,000 apartments pushed by Metro IAF, but will consider them once they do. But federal law prohibits giving preference to NYCHA residents for more than 25% of new senior apartments.

Former Greenpoint Hospital eyed for affordable housing

“The mayor and agency commissioners have met with Metro IAF and made clear our interest in collaborating. We share the same mission. When they’ve put forward concrete projects in the past — like the latest phase of affordable homes at Spring Creek — we’ve worked together to get it done,” said de Blasio spokeswoman Melissa Grace, referring to an East New York housing project the city did with Metro IAF and East Brooklyn Congregations.

The groups complained earlier in de Blasio’s term that bureaucratic delays were holding up that project, but so far 600 homes have been built and occupied and another 1,300 are in progress.

The plan got the backing of Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, city Controller Scott Stringer, and Public Advocate Letitia James, who said she’d host a candidate forum for City Council speaker candidates on housing at St. Paul’s.

“Bill de Blasio, you better get behind this plan 100%, or you’re going to have a problem with the men and the people of God,” said Jeffries (D-Brooklyn). 

Tags:
bill de blasio
affordable housing
nycha

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