De Blasio Promotes East New York Rezoning Plan to Skeptical Locals

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    Mayor de Blasio speaks about affordable housing at East New York’s Saint Rita’s Catholic Church

    Mayor Bill de Blasio journeyed to East New York Sunday, October 4, to explain his affordable housing plan to residents, face to face.

    The pews of St Rita’s Roman Catholic Church were nearly filled with listeners. The church was strategically selected not just for its spacious chapel, but also its location at the border of the East New York community de Blasio plans to rezone in an effort to bring 6,000 new apartments — half of them affordable housing — to the area.

    East New York plays a vital role in the Mayor’s promise to create 80,000 new affordable units during the next decade. As one of New York’s most impoverished and undeveloped neighborhoods, the area seems ripe for new, below-market units and amenities like bike lanes and better schools.

    Yet, despite the proliferation of vacant, overgrown lots and a high concentration of poverty, locals still need convincing to believe de Blasio’s plan will actually improve the neighborhood for longtime residents. Some are wary of the affordable housing plan, wondering if it is a scheme to turn over the neighborhood to wealthy developers.

    “We will not allow this city to be taken away from us. It has to be a city for all, or else it’s not New York City anymore,” de Blasio told largely Spanish-speaking churchgoers Sunday, according to the New York Times.

    They mayor’s sermon was met with applause, despite general controversy regarding his rezoning plan and fears it will lead to further displacement.

    East New York Affordable Housing

    [Source: NYT | Photo: New York City Mayoral Photography Office]

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