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The Gowanus neighborhood in Brooklyn, known for its unique mix of industrial, artistic, and commercial activity is poised for significant changes driven by public actions and planned neighborhood investment. The polluted Gowanus Canal, designated as a Superfund site1in 2010 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is in the process of being cleaned up. The responsible parties, which include the City of New York and National Grid, are required to contribute to remediation costs currently estimated at $1.257 billion.Despite this public housing crisis, the City has not meaningfully linked its Housing New York and NYCHA Next Generation strategies to preserve public housing as part of the Gowanus rezoning. By excluding Gowanus NYCHA developments from the rezoning boundary, the City prevents NYCHA from directly benefiting from the land use action and therefore risks exacerbating the existing inequalities between residents of public housing and the community's wealthier and white neighbors.The City is missing an opportunity to address the public housing crisis that deserves its full attention, especially given NYCHA's extensive capital needs and the amount of property value being created through the City's land use actions. In New York, when regulatory actions such as zoning changes increase land values, landowners or speculative investors disproportionately reap the benefits. Property values increase, rewarding landowners while soaring rents often displace longstanding businesses and existing residents.
CASA is proud to present our new white paper, Resisting Displacement: Lessons from CASA's Tenant Organizing in the Southwest Bronx!In the last year, CASA has organized or provided technical assistance to over 90 buildings, which are home to more than 7,000 families. In the last year alone, over 4,000 tenants have actively engaged in CASA's work. Our new white paper shares lessons in tenant organizing, explores the forces of displacement that we are up against, and solutions for fighting displacement in the context of an impending rezoning.This is a critical moment for the Southwest Bronx. A potential rezoning is imminent, and could have devastating impacts on low-income tenants of color, their communities, and the state of affordable housing. CASA has drawn on our organizing experience, coalition work, previous research and the experiences of the tenants we work with to draft this white paper.In the report we:Present a clear and accurate definition of displacement and counter the false assertion that most tenants leave neighborhoods by choice;Explain the tactics that landlords already use to exert displacement pressures on low-income tenants of color;Emphasize the risk of increased displacement posed by rezoning, and in particular the Jerome Avenue rezoning, when new housing is not genuinely affordable and there are insufficient protections against displacement;Offer solutions that would protect tenants from displacement, allow them to remain in their homes, and preserve their communities.
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