FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 25, 2019
Deyanira Del Rio, New Economy Project, 917-541-3392
Anna Kim, Brownsville Partnership/Community Solutions, 929-263-4181
Valerio Orselli, Cooper Square CLT, 917-509-5617
Paula Z. Segal, Community Development Project, 646-459-3067
NYC TAKES BOLD ACTION TO ADDRESS AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS BY SUPPORTING COMMUNITY LAND TRUSTS
New Community Land Trust (CLT) funding will promote permanently-affordable housing and community-led development in all five boroughs
NEW YORK, NY – Community and affordable housing activists are celebrating NYC Council’s announcement of $870,000 in FY2020 discretionary funding for community land trusts (CLTs) across NYC. The funding will help incubate and expand CLTs to develop permanently-affordable housing and curb displacement in low-income NYC neighborhoods.
CLTs represent a bold strategy for addressing NYC’s affordability crisis. By giving communities control over land, CLTs combat speculation and ensure that housing remains permanently affordable. Emerging CLTs are working to provide affordable commercial, nonprofit, and green spaces, in addition to deeply-affordable rental, limited-equity co-op, and other kinds of housing.
The City Council funding, championed by Council Members Carlina Rivera and Donovan Richards, will support eleven community-based organizations working to launch CLTs in low-income and gentrifying neighborhoods. Over the coming year, groups will engage thousands of New Yorkers through outreach and education, community and tenant organizing, and CLT governance. Funding will also support four technical assistance providers that will deliver legal, policy and other support to emerging CLTs.
The City Council’s investment adds to momentum CLT advocates have built in recent years, including securing passage of NYC’s first local law codifying CLTs. It also comes on the heels of historic tenant wins in Albany, and CLT organizers emphasized community land ownership as a critical piece of broader housing justice movements.
“We applaud the City Council and especially thank Council Members Donovan Richards and Carlina Rivera for their leadership and stalwart support of CLTs,” said Deyanira Del Rio, Co-Director of New Economy Project, which is coordinating the CLT initiative. “This funding is a major win for New Yorkers and for groups organizing for accountable, community-led development without displacement.”
“CLTs are a much-needed vehicle for combating speculation and for ensuring permanent affordability of housing in neighborhoods plagued by speculation, gentrification and displacement. This initiative is a great achievement on the part of all the organizations and City Council champions working hard to strengthen the CLT model and preserve and create permanently affordable housing in New York,” said Taurean Lewis, Community Engagement Specialist at Brownsville Partnership.
“We are deeply appreciative of the NYC Council’s support for this new citywide CLT initiative. The funds will allow CLTs to grow and pursue diverse land uses, from deeply affordable housing to green space and public amenities. Given our current affordable housing crisis, CLTs are a model we must pursue and expand,” said Valerio Orselli, Project Director at Cooper Square CLT. “We hope that this funding helps lay groundwork for Cooper Square CLT and others to acquire additional properties to be utilized for the public good.”
“We applaud New York City Council for taking this important step in supporting a solution to the affordability crisis in our city,” said Mychal Johnson, co-founding member of the Mott Haven-Port Morris Community Land Stewards. “Here in the South Bronx, where we are battling a three-year tripling of real estate prices, we are working hard to provide permanently affordable space for housing, for health, for education and for the arts.”
“CLTs have a long history in the civil rights movement,” said Kazembe Balagun, a leader with Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition. “They were created in order to keep people safe and build community. Today, we know that CLTs are exactly what we need to ensure our people are not only protected and kept safe, but are also a mechanism to help build shared wealth and ownership for our community.”
“This important funding will allow fledgling efforts like ours to grow and develop long-term affordable housing options for the people who live and work in our community,” said Kathleen Bielsa, Deputy Executive Director of Northfield Community LDC. “We truly appreciate City Council support of the emerging CLT movement in NYC.”
“This support for Community Land Trusts is a commitment by the City Council to long-term affordability and community decision-making,” said Elizabeth Clay Roy, Executive Director of Community Development Project, which provides no-cost legal services for community organizations. “Strong CLTs can be the cornerstone of equitable neighborhoods that make New York City stronger.”
“City Council’s support for CLTs could not be better-timed,” said John Krinsky, Professor of Political Science at City College. “With the housing landscape of New York City changing rapidly, it’s more important than ever to ensure that increasing amounts of affordable housing are democratically managed, and accountable to communities.”