Bushwick residents: DeBlasio’s new affordable housing plan still not affordable enough

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Mayor DeBlasio’s newly revised plan for creating more affordable housing still won’t help Bushwick’s poorest residents stay in their neighborhood, say locals.

Council members are set to approve Hizzoner’s so-called “mandatory inclusionary housing” proposal — which would require developers create below-market-rate housing when building on rezoned land — after cutting a deal that would open up that housing up to households earning around $31,000 a year, down from $46,000. But denizens of the rapidly gentrifying nabe say that still isn’t low enough to help those who are most at risk of displacement.

“The Bushwick community in need is still in need,” said local activist Brigette Blood. “While [the new plan] is more reflective of Bushwick’s need, our most vulnerable populations and families will not benefit from this proposal.”

The original plan would have given developers the option of setting aside 25 percent of their buildings for three-person households earning around $46,000 a year, or 30 percent for those earning either $62,000 or $93,000. The new deal adds a fourth option that will allow 20 percent of units be set aside for those earning roughly $31,000. Rent on those would be around $775 a month for a two-bedroom unit.

The median income in Bushwick is currently $36,561 — well below the city-wide median of $77,700 — but that figure is inflated thanks to the recent influx of wealthier new residents, said Blood, and doesn’t represent what many long-time resident make.

“Our ‘need’ and local averages have been disproportionately impacted by gentrification and population influx,” she said.

The scheme could have a huge effect on Bushwick if the city opts to rezone the entire neighborhood as it is doing in East New York, as local Council members are predicting.

Bushwick’s community board approved the original plan 17–11 last year — even though most other Brooklyn boards and the Borough Board rejected it — on the condition the city alter it to include those in lower income brackets. But some members of the panel agree the revised version still doesn’t go far enough.

“This is not for us,” said Community Board 4 member Robert Camacho, who earns $19,200 a year. “It’s not enough.”

One local Council member said he anticipated his constituents’ disappointment with the concessions, but insisted he and other officials pushed the city to lower the income bracket as low as they could.

“I believe there will still be frustration with the plan and desires to see even deeper levels of affordability, but the Council did everything it can do,” said Councilman Rafael Espinal (D–Bushwick), who represents part of the neighborhood, while Councilman Antonio Reynoso (D–Bushwick) represents the rest.

The Council’s land-use committee already passed the plan 15–2 with one abstention last week — of Brooklyn’s reps, Steve Levin (D–Williamsbu­rg), Brad Lander (D–Park Slope), David Greenfield (D–Borough Park), Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), and Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island) all gave their okay. Jumaane Williams (D–Flatbush) and Innez Barron (D–East New York) were the dissenters, both saying it doesn’t do enough to include lower-income residents. The full Council will vote on the revised plan this week.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at or by calling (718) 260–8312.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
The main complaint people have about using AMI (area median income) is that it reflects an Area that includes suburban counties. In light of that, it doesn't make sense to claim that Bushwick's "‘need’ and local averages have been disproportionately impacted by gentrification and population influx." That sounds like a person who has learned that "disproportionately" is a word that makes you sound smart and can win you arguments.
March 21, 2016, 9:32 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
But know what? Any system based on having to win a lottery isn't going to help many people anyway, whether they're the most needy or rather well off.
March 21, 2016, 9:34 am
Greg from Williamsburg says:
Twas always just a handout to the developers.
March 21, 2016, 10:04 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Food stamps are a handout to Key Food and Conagra, so there needs to be a better argument against development than "developers benefit."
March 21, 2016, 10:14 am
Bushwiki from Bushwick says:
Don't worry Doodles, there will be plenty of space once these low income lottery winners sublet at market rates and pocket the difference.

Common people get with the program... its called the invisible hand for a reason. The poor will use their poverty to their advantage.

I use to feel pretty ——ty seeing a person who got section 8 and a whole boatload of benefits driving a new benz while took the subway to my middle income job... but hey theres nothing I can do but accept it and be happy so that's what I do. I just say Hola when I see them and keep walking.
March 21, 2016, 11:27 am
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
Force the developers to build affordable housing or every market rate condo they build they should allocate some of those units for affordable housing.

Legislation is a powerful tool.
March 21, 2016, 1:01 pm
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
If you don't mind my saying so, the drawing that accompanies this article is of people protesting from 2014 and, ironically, they appear to be marching out straight of the neighborhood. Did they ever come back??? What is going on here? Thank you for your attention to this matter.
John Wasserman
March 21, 2016, 2:30 pm
Alex from Williamsburg says:
This law has some good, some bad and some ugly.

I can't fight city hall, therefore I'll save you the time of learning why.
March 21, 2016, 2:42 pm
Yeezy says:
What's the difference between childbirth and nuclear energy?
March 21, 2016, 2:47 pm
Marsha Rimler from Brooklyn Heights says:
lets understand
the real estate industry owns the city council and most of our elected politicians. They do not represent the citizens that vote for them. Look at Levin and Lander and the corrupt give away of a public lib ray to a friend of the mayor.. These guys have got to go
and they gave themselves a raise too
dumplevin2017on aol and on twitter
March 21, 2016, 2:56 pm
Bob from Bushwick says:
A lot of the comments here are nonsensical.
March 21, 2016, 3:36 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Here comes Marsha Rimler again wth her strong "I've-got-mine" arguments. Unsurprisingly, she has never convinced anyone of anything because her selfishness doesn't help anyone else (except maybe her wealthy Brooklyn Heights neighbors).
March 21, 2016, 3:42 pm
Tony says:
Said Bob the builder.
March 21, 2016, 4:07 pm
Estufa from Bushwick says:
Its sad to say but gentrification has made Bushwick a cleaner, safer and less noisy, I know I live here, 40 years
March 21, 2016, 6:52 pm
Marlene from Bushwick says:
These comments just get me mad as I myself don't live off of the government and have a good paying job and can't afford to live were I grew up cause landlords are not renting apartments to families but looking for white people that they can charge an arm and a leg to for a building were drug lords use to sell and was a rat infesment apartment something you call hip . Studio for 1500 is just a joke . To state that Puerto Rico is cheaper when we grew up and was raised in Brooklyn is offensive . Can you go back to your hometown and see your old friends and family cause they can afford it . Well we can't go to Brooklyn and see ours cause they have been moved out not cause they wanted to but cause they were forced that's with no heat and hot water thing not being fixed .
March 22, 2016, 10:23 am
Krystal from Bushwick says:
It's crazy that I walk around Bushwick watching my back and have these yuppies move in and walk around entitled. It's crazy that us "locals" are the problem. I've lived in Bushwick my whole life and have never seen Bushwick this way. Us "locals" are not the problem. We weds happy before the yuppies moved here because it's artsy. Bushwick used to be affordable and with all these artsy types moving in, the rent has skyrocketed. People are being displaced because landlords see yuppies as money bags. What about the hard working Puerto Rican's like me who aren't receiving benefits and have children but will be looked over because I'm not white, or I don't look like I can afford $1500 rent. That's B.S. Yes, Brooklyn has changed but for the better, I agree and disagree. All the locals are moving out and the yuppies are taking their place. But we can't do anything about it. This —— baffles me because Bushwick is not Bushwick anymore. Bushwick is East Williamsburg.
March 22, 2016, 11:23 am

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