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Let’s Talk Affordable Housing

Next Tuesday there will be a panel discussion moderated by GVSHP’s Executive Director Andrew Berman addressing affordable housing and how it relates to — or doesn’t relate to — historic preservation. This is a subject that is of real concern to anyone who is interested in Greenwich Village, the East Village and NoHo, but also all New Yorkers.


Although the event is already at capacity – not surprisingly – you can watch a live feed here.

The discussion is presented by Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Historic Districts Council, & The New School Center for New York City Affairs. Panelists include Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, former Chair of the Public Housing Committee of the City Council; Harvey Epstein, NYC Rent Guidelines Board Member and Project Director of the Community Development Project of the Urban Justice Center; Nadine Maleh, Director of the Inspiring Places program at Community Solutions, a designer of over 1,000 units of affordable housing in New York City and elsewhere; and Rachel Meltzer, Assistant Professor of Urban Policy at The New School.

source: http://www.aafe.org

With this discussion, preservationists intend to look at the real challenges to affordable housing in our city, and the real connections between preservation and affordability.  Recently, developer and landlord lobbying groups such as the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) have argued that historic preservation is a major contributing factor to the shortage of affordable housing – a claim we find ridiculous – and have publicly challenged. (You can read more about that here and here.) It’s time for new policy and new decisions on affordable housing – made by local government, and those who actually work to create, preserve, and improve affordable housing – not by real estate developers.

“The crisis of affordability facing our city is very real, and requires a genuine examination of the issues involved to arrive at real solutions,” said Andrew Berman, panel moderator and GVSHP Executive Director. “For years, the developer lobby has supported policies and candidates that have led to the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of units of affordable housing, helping to lead to the current dire situation. Rather than listen to these same voices claiming to want to “solve” the crisis by dismantling landmarks protections, we have invited government officials, housing advocates and developers, and academics with a real track record in the field to take a look at what the challenges are, and what some solutions might be,” added Berman.

“Neighborhood preservationists and affordable housing advocates care about the same thing: New York City and the people who live here,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council. “It’s long past time for real New Yorkers to take the conversation of what our city’s future will look like back from the real estate development machine.”

In addition to HDC, GVSHP, and The New School, co-sponsoring organizations include Friends of Sunset Park; Ron Schweiger, Brooklyn Borough Historian; Coalition To Save The East Village; Morningside Heights Historic District Committee; Friends of Brook Park; Bowery Alliance of Neighbors; Fort Independence Park Neighborhood Association; Fiske Terrace Association; Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance; WE ACT for Environmental Justice;Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy; Friends of Petrosino Square; Friends of West Park; Crown Heights North Association; Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts; Prospect Park East Network; 10th & Stuyvesant Streets Block Association; Flatbush Development Corporation; Greenwich Village Community Task Force; Murray Hill Neighborhood Association; Friends of the Lower East Side; Lefferts Manor Association; Hamilton Heights – West Harlem Community Preservation Organization.

Remember, tune in to the live feed next Tuesday, September 16 at 6:30 P.M.

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