Local organization to host forum on gentrification

Local organization to host forum on gentrification
Voice of the people: A local resident talks to politicians, at the 2014 Candidate Forum, hosted at Flatbush-Tompkins Congregational Church in Flatbush-Ditmas Park.
Flatbush Tenant Coalition

The Flatbush Tenant Coalition will host a forum for residents of East Flatbush and local politicians on July 16. The forum plans to address tenant rights, gentrification, and the deliberate pricing out of tenants from once affordable homes in the area.

The event which is open to the community will be held at the St. Paul’s Church In the Village, at 157 St. Pauls Pl. between St. Paul’s Court and Church Avenue. Residents can submit questions to the local politicians.

“This is another opportunity for us to bring awareness to issues happening in Flatbush,” said Karl Valere, community outreach coordinator for the Flatbush Tenant Coalition. “Our main goal is to recognize what is happening and discuss the threatening of affordable housing in East Flatbush and New York City.”

Assembly members Rodneyse Bichotte, Robert Carroll, Walter Mosley, N. Nick Perry, State Senators Jesse Hamilton and Kevin Parker, and possibly some other local representatives are expected to speak at the New York State Assembly and Senate Candidate Forum.

The polliticians will address their stances on the concerns of residents.

Organizers state that gentrification forced itself into East Flatbush less than two years ago, when predatory investors set their eyes on the predominantly low-income, West Indian community. Valere says they are deliberately pricing residents out.

“In 2014, popular real-estate companies declared Flatbush as the next frontier,” said Valere. “It was our worse fears — aggressive investors are targeting rent-stabilized apartments.”

East Flatbush has seen many changes in recent years, including new retail space and condominium construction, the revitalization of formerly abandoned, Kings Theatre, and the introduction of hipster-attracting stores such as Gap.

Valere hopes the forum teaches residents how to protect themselves from greedy landlords, and hopes that the forum aims for legislation against the landlords who raise rents to price them out of their homes and gentrification.

“We want to strengthen rent laws,” said Valere. “Most recently the tactics have gotten more insidious, malicious, and there are harassment cases — we’ve seen it happen time and time again.”

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.

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