Affordable Housing

Making sure that New Yorkers can afford to stay in their homes, and creating new, appropriate affordable housing may be the greatest challenge confronting our city. We need to save the affordable housing we have, while finding ways to leverage current development into new affordable housing. By strengthening our rent laws, preserving affordable units, combating predatory lending, and helping small landlords maintain below-market rents, we can keep the economic diversity and opportunity that makes New York great.

Audio: Report: Bloomberg Housing Policy Falls Short

WNYC
08/16/2013

A new report found that one of Mayor Bloomberg's signature affordable housing policies has fallen short of expectations.

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The real champions of change

I’m honored to be in Washington DC today to receive a “Champions of Change” award from the White House for work (along with Alderman Joe Moore from Chicago, and Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito from East Harlem) on participatory budgeting.

I’m excited to meet and learn from other elected officials, not-for-profit leaders, and community organizers who are pioneering new forms of civic engagement and open government (like Jessica Klein, co-founder of Rockaway Help, which created new technology tools to enable people to collaborate for disaster relief). 

But there is something not-quite-right about getting an award for something as inclusive as participatory budgeting (which The New York Times called “revolutionary civics in action”). The whole idea of participatory budgeting is to see elected office not as a vehicle for one person’s leadership, but as a way to bring people together to take shared responsibility.  The best part of participatory budgeting is how people step up together to act as stewards of the shared public realm – our schools, parks, public transportation, streets, libraries – that makes our life together possible, and sometimes even ennobling. Read more »

Remembering Jon Kest, a lifelong fighter for justice

I’m thinking very powerfully today about Jon Kest, who passed away last night after a months-long battle with cancer (and just a month after the heart-rending loss of his daughter Jessie Streich-Kest who was killed during Hurricane Sandy). When I first moved to New York City 20 years ago, one of my first job interviews was with Jon, for a position as an organizer with ACORN. While I didn’t wind up in that job, I’ve been deeply honored to be following Jon’s lead in struggles for justice for two decades. Read more »

Signs of recovery

It took more than two weeks, but most of our neighbors in Red Hook finally have power, and more and more public housing buildings are getting their heat restored each day. Residents are rightfully angry that it took this long - and there will be a time soon to look at what happened, what should have been done differently, who’s accountable for it, and what we need to learn for the future. But I’m sure glad to see the progress. Read more »

Three shelters from the storm

Over the past week, we wrapped up operations at one hurricane evacuation shelter (John Jay High School campus), continued to provide an incredible level of compassion and support to evacuated high-needs residents in another (Park Slope Armory), and welcomed evacuated homeless veterans into a third (on West 9th Street in south Carroll Gardens).  And we continued to do all we could to help our neighbors down in Red Hook, more than 3,000 of whom are still – unacceptably – without power or heat twelve days later. Read more »

Providing shelter for Sandy victims in Carroll Gardens

As you are likely aware, yesterday evening the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) relocated 120 homeless veterans to 165 West 9th Street, between Court Street and Hamilton Avenue, in Carroll Gardens. During Hurricane Sandy, these veterans were evacuated from a shelter in Long Island City and, for the last week, had been staying on the drill floor of the Bedford-Atlantic Armory with hundreds of other hurricane victims. DHS plans to house these veterans here until the shelter in Long Island City is repaired, which DHS estimates will take several weeks. Read more »

Response from Dept of Homeless Services on Shelter Proposal

Last Tuesday, I joined with Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senator Daniel Squadron, and Assemblywoman Joan Millman to send a joint letter to DHS to demand that the Department of Homeless Services provide written responses, by the close of business last Friday, October 19th, to our numerous questions about this proposal – primarily how the City intends to squeeze 170 people into a 10-unit building, with no plans provided for social services or security, and dis Read more »

2011 Annual Report

Over the past year, people in NYC and around the globe have called for government that is more accountable to the people. I’ve worked to achieve a high standard of accountability – in that spirit I’m pleased to share this annual report on what we accomplished in 2011, what we learned, and what we’re hoping to do in the year to come. You can view the report below, download it, or explore our interactive map of accomplishments from the past year.

 

A Progressive Caucus for the "New Progressive Movement"

Living wage rally

Professor Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, had a great Op Ed in yesterday’s New York Times, on “The New Progressive Movement.”

Sachs believes that the Occupy Wall Street movement suggests the coming of a third progressive era in American politics (after the Progressive Era, following the financial crisis of 1893; and the New Deal in the 1930s, after the Great Depression). In all three of these cycles, an era of great inequality (the Gilded Age, the Roaring 20s, the financial bubble of the 2000s) was followed by a financial crisis, and then a demand not only to restore economic prosperity, but also to address inequality. Read more »