Mayor Bill de Blasio focused on housing in his State of the City address on Tuesday, calling for the construction of thousands of new units with the goal of creating more economically diverse neighborhoods.
In his 75-minute address de Blasio showed similar stripes as his predecessor Mayor Michael Bloomberg around his fervor for development– except the current mayor said his goal was to use development as a means to attack income inequality, versus create it
“As millions of tourists and locals continue to frequent venues across New York City annually for our unique cultural experience, local artists will no longer have to fear gentrification with the support of the city in the creation of affordable spaces to live and create,” said de Blasio.
“Through Housing New York, we are investing directly into our seniors, veterans, and artists – the very people who have contributed immensely towards the growth and development of our communities.”
Some of the finer, more granular ideas de Blasio laid out towards achieve housing equality included a provision for free legal representation for tenants facing landlord harassment, an expansion of bus rapid transit to Utica Avenue and other commuter corridors in need of attention, as well as a commitment to a five-borough ferry system that will affordably connect residents of south Brooklyn to the rest of the city.
Social media lit up with excitement from elected officials across Central Brooklyn responding to the mayor’s decision to focus on income equality through housing development.
City Councilmember Robert Cornegy said that the mayor shares the Council’s same determination to increase legal help for tenants. “Protecting tenants = preserving affordable housing!” Cornegy wrote on Twitter.
City Councilmember Laurie Cumbo, in a Facebook post, said she commends the mayor for his vision of a more progressive and inclusive future for the City of New York by tackling housing and development.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams might have stated it best when he said, The greatest challenge facing our borough and our city is ensuring our popularity translates into prosperity for all.
“The vision he laid out in today’s State of the City address to advance affordable housing are bold and necessary,” said Adams, adding, “from transforming neighborhoods on the rise like Brownsville and East New York, to pledging an end to veteran homelessness.
“I look forward to working closely with the de Blasio administration on these and other initiatives that will make affordable housing possible for everyone that wants to be part of our city, be they a long-term resident or a newcomer that wants to be part of our communities.”