Target: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
Goal: Stop the construction of a Manhattan luxury building that has a separate door for low-income residents
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio approved plans for the construction of a luxury building that would reserve 20 percent of its units for low-income and middle-income residents. However, all of these units will be closely located to one another and will have their own separate door, segregating these residents from the others living in the building.
Although Mayor de Blasio criticized building plans for this West Side high-rise, in 2009 he actually voted in favor of a zoning resolution that allowed for the possibility of separating affordable housing units and other units within the same building. According to a NPR article, City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal called the project a “disgrace” and demanded that the “developer must go back, seal the one door and make it so all residents go through the same door.”
Not only does the building allow segregation based on income, but many of the residents living in the subsidized units might also be minorities. Therefore, the project would normalize segregation among racial lines as well.
Despite the fact that this luxury building does allow for many New York residents to afford housing in a nice neighborhood for a fraction of the cost, it makes segregation legal—which is the greater cost. By signing the petition below, you ask Mayor de Blasio and City Council officials to work on closing this loophole in the zoning laws and think of alternative ideas for creating affordable housing units in New York City.
Dear Mayor de Blasio,
The construction of a luxury building on the West Side that would have a separate door for low-income residents would normalize segregation on socioeconomic lines. Although affordable housing is necessary for the city, it should not come at such a cost.
In 2009, as city councilman, you approved a zoning resolution that would allow for projects, like the one being pursued by Extell Development, to separate subsidize units from units being sold at market price. Despite denouncing the plans as mayor, it is important to remember that you originally voted on this bill. The excuse of not having been aware of the stipulation before voting is not adequate as I hope you and all of our government representatives are always aware of what they pass into law.
Therefore, I urge you and the City Council to find a way to close this loophole and to find alternative ways to offer affordable housing without segregating New York City residents.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Hakilon via Wikimedia Commons