From Mar. 2018
We see it every day. Our neighbors are forced out by high rents and bad landlords; new developments come in with no room for local families; NYCHA homes are decaying to the point of being unsafe. We need a Congressmember who supports plans to create low-equity housing cooperatives, fix NYCHA, develop community land trusts, and stop allowing homes to be turned into investment profit-centers for wealthy non-residents. These are proven ways to slow the spread of gentrification and preserve affordable housing in our communities.
We need to protect against gentrification and displacement, and improve affordable housing in Central Brooklyn.
My five point Community-First Affordable Housing Plan:
1. Create low-equity housing cooperatives
Low-equity cooperatives are similar to traditional co-ops, but buying into the low income co-op is subject to income restrictions and strictly limited resale values. This gives local families the chance to own a stake in their community, stabilizes neighborhoods, preserves housing affordability, and ensures that residents benefit from the neighborhood's growth instead of being displaced by it. Additionally, low-equity cooperatives are smart public investments. Research done by Washington D.C.'s Tenant Purchase Assistance Program found that it can be 60 times cheaper to help a tenant purchase a unit as part of a low-equity cooperative than it would be for U.S. Section 8 vouchers to pay that unit's rent for 5 years.
2. Re-invest in NYCHA housing
Years of federal funding cuts have led to widespread and well-documented problems in NYCHA housing. With 80% of NYCHA families losing heat and hot water in the worst part of the winter and dealing with mold, neglect, and repairs that go undone for years, public housing is at a breaking point. This district needs a Congressmember who does more to secure federal funding so NYCHA families have the safe housing they deserve.
3. Develop community land trusts
Community land trusts are non-profits that acquire land for the sole purpose of developing affordable housing or other public assets that benefit local residents and preserve the character of our neighborhoods. Because community land trusts are not motivated by profit, they have no incentive to gentrify or develop luxury housing. As Congressmember, I will play a leadership role is supporting and organizing CLTs in areas most at risk of gentrification to ensure that the voice of the community is heard and represented in all new developments.
4. Create tax incentives to encourage local workforce development
The only way to ensure the community benefits from new development is to guarantee that incomes rise with housing prices. Developers and entrepreneurs who bring business into Central Brooklyn must be encouraged to hire locally, offering quality careers to residents in exchange for tax abatements.
5. Stop allowing homes to be turned into profit-centers for wealthy non-residents
Over the past decade, wealthy investors from outside the district, including a growing number of foreign speculators, have made our housing crisis worse by buying up apartments and leaving them vacant unless they can get luxury rental prices. This makes housing more expensive for everyone and distorts New York City's housing market by diverting land and development away from low- and middle-income housing. We need to establish federal regulations that require buyers in high-density zip codes to disclose their identity so we can curb market-distorting speculation.
Housing is a human right. We are in dire need of affordable housing, and it's time our leaders start supporting new, creative solutions to address this crisis. Middle-class and working families are critical parts of our community, and our leaders cannot continue to stand by as they are priced out of our neighborhoods. My plan will create opportunities for residents to take ownership of the community and support smart development that will help make our neighborhoods stronger.