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: Participatory Budgeting

The Brian Lehrer Show

Brad Lander, Brooklyn City Councilman (D-39), and Melissa Mark-Viverito, city council member representing East Harlem and parts of the Bronx and Upper West Side, and member of the council's Progressive Caucus, discuss their new plan to involve constituents in budget allocation.

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A Night Volunteering at Old First Respite Shelter for Homeless Men

Park Slope Patch

The night I got back from my recent trip to Europe I ran into Charlotte, a good friend of mine, on Seventh Avenue and she told me that we were going to be having a sleepover date.

Well, not exactly a sleepover date. Charlotte, who is a member of Congregation Beth Elohim, had volunteered us to be Overnight Shelter Hosts at the new homeless respite shelter at Old First.

"You volunteered me to do what?" I said loud and clear standing on the corner of Third Street in front of Cheeburger Cheeburger.

"It'll be fun. We'll stay up all night and talk," she said. Read more »

A New Respite for Homeless at Old First

Park Slope Patch

In 2007, several homeless men garnered quite a bit of neighborhood attention when they began sleeping on the steps of Old First Reformed Church, playing music loudly and leaving garbage in their wake.

The men, who refused assistance in finding housing, were a great frustration to the residents of the Seventh Avenue near Carroll Street, but they also inspired the church to begin working on issues of homelessness when Rev. Dr. Daniel Meeter, became frustrated in the lack of permanent solutions available to help the city’s homeless population. Read more »

Quite a night!

The wheels of government were busy turning last night, in Albany and at City Hall:

Marriage equality: a historic step forward
I’m deeply proud to be a New Yorker today.  Marriage equality means that so many of our friends will know that their state doesn’t view their love as inferior, that many of our kids’ friends will know that we don’t think there’s something inadequate about their LGBT parents, and that LGBT kids won’t grow up thinking there’s something to be ashamed of.
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In the Press: Love NYC's Diversity? Then Strengthen Rent Regulations

Huffington Post

On June 15th, rent regulations that protect nearly three million New York City tenants will expire.

Democratic officials overwhelmingly support strengthening the rent laws, since their constituents rely on them. Upstate Republicans oppose a strong renewal, ideologically yes, but also because — as the head of the landlords' lobby said in a revealing recent video — landlords have "emptied our piggy bank" for Republican Senate Leader Dean Skelos. Read more »

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City Officials, Housing Advocates Rally Against Predatory Lending Practices

Council Member Brad Lander During the Press Conference Outside 294 Fifth Avenue
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

PARK SLOPE — South Brooklyn Legal Services, along with elected officials and members of the Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC) and the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), held a rally yesterday in Park Slope to announce the filing of two separate motions arguing that mortgage holders can be held liable for maintaining building conditions once a foreclosure is initiated and a receiver is in place.

"Lenders have placed thousands of low and moderate income renters at risk -- first, by over-leveraging multi-family buildings with too much debt, and then by failing to step up and take responsibility for building conditions," said City Councilmember Brad Lander. "The motions filed by SBLS today are an important step toward holding banks responsible for their actions and ensuring that tenants are living in decent, safe and sanitary housing. We also need to move forward on legislation that I introduced in the Council this spring that would require lenders to post a bond when they commence foreclosure proceedings, to address situations just like this one." Read more »

The Progressive Caucus's Response to the Mayor's Budget

Below is the New York City Progressive Caucus's response to the Mayor's budget. The Mayor has not listened to the many, many New Yorkers who asked for millionaires to pay a fair share, and has instead decided to yet again balance the budget on the backs of the city's families by cutting vital services. However, my colleagues in the Progressive Caucus and I will continue to fight for a fairer, more equitable New York City. Read more »

City Needs to Step Up Foreclosure Programs

Notices on a telephone post
Gotham Gazette

Everywhere we turn, there is evidence of how Wall Street and financial institutions have failed to step up and take responsibility for the foreclosure crisis they caused.

A few weeks ago, Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Film, exposing how the explosion of predatory lending, combined with all the wrong incentives in the financial sector, stripped countless families of their life savings and cost millions of jobs around the world. Read more »