Brooklyn Borough President Adams Delivers Keynote at Affordable Housing Forum

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams delivers the keynote address at the Brooklyn Affordable Housing Forum. Image credit: New York Housing Conference

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams delivers the keynote address at the Brooklyn Affordable Housing Forum. Image credit: New York Housing Conference

The Borough President promoted his targeted plan to address Brooklyn’s housing needs.  On March 10, 2015 the New York Housing Conference held the Brooklyn Affordable Housing Forum at the National Grid Auditorium in MetroTech Center.  The event featured representatives from community groups, real estate development, and city agencies to address challenges and ideas for affordable housing and services in Brooklyn.

The event began with a keynote address from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.  The borough president emphasized the need to consult with housing advocates and community leaders in developing a housing policy, but tempered with the ability to stand back and “take a 20,000-foot view” in order to find inventive solutions.  The borough president then called attention to what he termed “non-brick and mortar” problems facing development: tenant harassment by greedy landlords, the “not on my block” opposition of longtime residents to growing their neighborhood and disrupting the status quo, and an attitude in communities of color that development will result in displacement of existing residents.  “If you actually believe that you do not deserve something nice because you will lose your community, that’s going to feed into the fear of development.” said Adams.  The borough president also called for discarding the 80/20 model of affordable housing development and supported adopting the 50-30-20 model, where 50 percent of developed units would be market-rate, 30 percent designated for moderate-income families, and 20 percent of low-income households.  “We need to focus on the middle-class, because middle-class Brooklynites stabilize communities.  They’re the ones in PTA’s, who serve on community boards, mobilize and organize block associations.”

Borough President Adams also promoted his Housing Brooklyn affordable housing plan, modeled on the Housing New York plan of Mayor Bill de Blasio.  The borough president stated Housing Brooklyn contained borough-specific proposals to work in conjunction with the citywide Housing New York plan and achieve its goal of 200,000 affordable housing units.  The borough president advocated for development of Housing Preservation and Development-owned sites along the Livonia Avenue and Fulton Street Corridors, the completion of Gateway Estates, and assisting St. Nicks Alliance in developing the vacant Greenpoint Hospital complex.  The plan calls for development in Coney Island and the borough president pledged the use of capital funds from his office to rebuild the local sewer system and infrastructure to make development more attractive.  “Developers are not going to build sewer systems and build buildings.  That’s just not reality.”

The plan also calls for building on city-owned sites by selling municipal parking lots across Brooklyn, building on the site while moving the lots underground.  The Borough President also discussed building over Brooklyn’s rail yards, the bus depot at Williamsburg Bridge Plaza, and building residential units above one-story libraries.  Above all, Borough President Adams declared throughout the entire plan, permanent affordability had to be required.  “I do not believe that if you purchased a condominium at an affordable rate, then the price does up, you should be able to sell and benefit from that, then move on to somewhere else.  That unit should be affordable for the next family coming in.”

In a statement to CityLand, the New York Housing Conference praised the Borough President’s address, stating “Borough President Eric Adams delivered an inspiring vision of how to better address affordability for Brooklynites with a pragmatic approach that embraces communities’ needs while also building the affordable housing this borough needs.”

By: Michael Twomey (Michael is a CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2014.)

One thought on “Brooklyn Borough President Adams Delivers Keynote at Affordable Housing Forum

  1. A good talk, Adams’! But it should include a reference to Community Land Trusts as a way of helping to provide permanent affordability, and perhaps consider a 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 income mix, to provide more for those most in need.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.