Plans for real estate development in once-ignored New York neighborhoods now need more than a pretty presentation to win public support.
That’s because local coalitions anchored by longstanding community organizations in places such as East New York, East Harlem, and Jerome Avenue in the Bronx are taking an active part in decisions about rezoning and redevelopment.
Funded with $550,000 from The Trust through the Neighborhoods First Fund for Community Based Planning, the organizations work to protect affordable housing and avoid displacement. The coalitions enable residents to evaluate proposed projects, negotiate details, and voice local concerns.
Citywide, their efforts helped win tenants’ right to counsel in housing court and rules that require landlords seeking to alter their buildings to prove they haven’t harassed tenants. They also increased the number of housing units affordable to the lowest-income households under mandatory inclusionary zoning, won adjustments to height and density proposals, and convinced the City to invest more in local schools and infrastructure.
“We feel the lasting impact isn’t just the changes and concessions, but the recognition of communities’ standing and their collective expertise in determining their own futures. ”
—Joan Byron, program director of the Neighborhoods First Fund
Learn more about our work to protect affordable housing and communities.