Opinion: Brooklyn has a housing disaster. Right here is the plan the following mayor should comply with.

Central Brooklyn. Liena Zagare / Bklyner

By Michelle Neugebauer

To create a more just and just New York City, our next mayor must address the affordable housing crisis in Brooklyn. It’s a dire situation: the median asking rent in the community is $ 2,395, despite a pandemic-induced drop in median rent. The eviction process continued despite the moratorium, which mainly involved tenants in central Brooklyn. And let’s be clear: this crisis is causing disproportionate damage to the residents of Schwarz and Braun.

Brooklyn desperately needs a partner at City Hall who will work with community groups who understand the reality of the Brooklyn housing crisis and how it intersects with longstanding racial differences. That’s why we’ve partnered with over 90 organizations with deep expertise to create a plan to help the next mayor resolve the housing crisis in Brooklyn and beyond. Our recommendations, found in the United for Housing: From the Ground Up report, provide the next mayor with a housing and racial justice blueprint that will make the lives of countless Brooklyn households a lot better.

The plan calls for an investment commensurate with the severity of the crisis in Brooklyn and all other counties. We urge the next mayor to invest $ 2.5 billion in affordable rental and home ownership and $ 1.5 billion in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) – a total of $ 4 billion per year. This historic investment would significantly change the landscape we see today by creating jobs, supporting local communities, and increasing the availability of truly affordable housing.

This is also a question of racial justice: racism in our housing policy has contributed to segregated city districts, concentrated poverty and a lack of wealth creation opportunities for people of color. This has compounded the impact of the current crisis on Brooklyn’s color dwellers. In other words, we must now center racial justice in our housing policy in order to overcome the legacy of racist politics in our past.

First, we propose that the bulk of our funding be devoted to creating truly affordable housing for families and individuals with the lowest incomes and greatest needs, so that they can actually find a place to call home. One easy way to improve the availability of affordable housing is to make it easier for owners to convert their basement / basement into a safe, legal and rentable apartment. We were part of the city’s pilot program and we know this is part of the solution. Leveraging Community Land Trusts will also ensure that the new Brooklyn apartment building will hit residents where they are – and that these apartments will remain affordable over the long term.

Second, we are proposing a $ 200 million rental assistance program to the most vulnerable households. Direct help prevents evictions, provides immediate financial support to families in need and alleviates a worsening housing and homeless crisis.

To complement these efforts, each candidate must explain how they will end housing discrimination. Increasing the offer is only helpful if the residents who need the accommodation most urgently can actually live there and are not turned away because of their race or the fact that they are using vouchers for rental support. We also need housing speculation – e.g. B. the turning of houses – condemn that deprives the owners of the neighborhood of housing.

Finally, we propose creating a new down payment support program to give Black and Latin American households access to the capital they need to buy a home. We would expand the existing program to increase support for those below 80 percent AMI income to $ 60,000 to fill a racial wealth gap.

The current real estate crisis in Brooklyn is at a turning point. With the city to elect a new mayor, councilor, and president of the city of Brooklyn, getting it right is more important than ever – the next decade is at stake. New York City must take an ambitious approach to housing construction that not only supports the most vulnerable populations in our district, but also reverses course on past injustices. Brooklyn doesn’t deserve anything less.

Michelle Neugebauer is the managing director of Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation.

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