Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Mayor Bill de Blasio's Challenge of Affordable Housing in NYC

As most people have heard, New York City has a new mayor, Mayor Bill de Blasio. One of the challenges that Mayor de Blasio is facing, is the housing crisis in NYC. Brooklyn as well as the other boroughs (most especially Manhattan) has become unaffordable. New York City is a diverse, exciting, creative place to live, with good restaurants, great cultural events, world class museums, beautiful parks and ethnic diversity which makes it very stimulating. The down side to all this, is that young people (as well as not so young) from around the world want to live here as well as young adults from across the U.S. and that demand for housing has pushed real estate prices through the "roof." In an article in Monday's New York Daily News, writer Beth Stebner starts off by saying in her article, "So much for Bill de Blasio's middle class-it has officially been priced out of his beloved borough. " (Bill de Blasio owns a home with his wife in Park Slope, Brooklyn.) Rents and prices of apartments and homes in neighborhoods such as Park Slope, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill and parts of Bushwick and Bed Stuy are now off limits to many in the middle class.
The middle class has helped NYC achieve its greatness. They've worked hard, raised families, built and supported churches and other houses of worship and helped their communities thrive. They are a necessary component of a thriving New York.
So one of the greatest challenges Bill de Blasio will face as mayor will be convincing developers to build more affordable housing for the poor and the middle class, through incentives and tax breaks. Something has to be done and it won't be easy but it's desperately needed.
Pope Francis has preached over and over again about economic justice for all.  His powerful words in seeking justice and economic equality for all God's people, has even made an impression in Washington, as religious leaders of all faiths and lawmakers speak about the importance of opportunities for all people.  They have been quoting Pope Francis, much to the delight of Catholic lawmakers.  This is according to a New York Times article I read titled, "Pope's Voice Is Resonating In The Capitol."  Let's hope and pray the Pope's message is acted upon in Washington, in New York City and throughout the world.  The poor and the middle class must not be forgotten or left out of a prosperous economy, as Pope Francis keeps reminding us.