Velazquez Calls for Continued Funding of the New York City Community Land Trust Initiative
Washington, DC - Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) wrote a letter to New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson urging him to continue funding the New York City Community Land Trust Initiative (CLT). The CLT program allows for members of the community to exercise agency over land and buildings within their borders with the intent of creating permanent, affordable housing. The structure of the Trust’s leadership ensures that these housing units remain affordable. Members of New York’s seventh district have expressed substantial interest in establishing a CLT in East New York. The New York City Council noticed these efforts, allocating a total of $850,000,000 to the CLT in last year’s city budget.
“The CLT program paves the way for more affordable housing in East New York,” stated Velázquez. “This initiative has shown great promise, especially with so many New Yorkers working actively to ensure its success. In the past year, I’ve seen East New York’s CLT group hold town halls and informational sessions for their neighbors regarding the program. When we see concerned citizens put in the work to increase access to something as critical as affordable housing, we ought to honor their efforts and respond with support. While I am aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed a substantial strain on the city’s budget, I truly believe that this funding directly addresses the disparities this pandemic has brought to light.”
The text of the letter can be found below.
A pdf version of the letter can be found here:
The Honorable Corey Johnson
Speaker, New York City Council
New York, NY 10007
Re: Community Land Trust (CLT) Initiative
Council Speaker Johnson:
I write to you today to advocate for the continued funding of the New York City Community Land Trust (CLT) Initiative for Fiscal Year 2021. While I recognize that this upcoming City budget will be one of the most difficult to finalize, because of the enormous budget shortfall the City is facing due to the fiscal crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are certain programs or services that should not be on the chopping block as they help to provide a safety net that is essential to tackling the disparities that the pandemic has highlighted. The CLT Initiative that was funded to the amount of $850,000.00 by last year’s City budget is one of those essential programs.
CLT’s allow for our communities to take ownership of land and the buildings found on them in order to create permanent affordable housing. In East New York, my office has seen a growing organized population interested in establishing a CLT in the area. Data shows that decades of discrimination in the New York real estate market have led to the displacement of people of color. Thanks to last year’s CLT funding, this organized group has held various town halls and informative sessions to help educate and build their interim Steering Committee that is currently tasked with the creation of by-laws and the necessary infrastructure to establish the CLT.
Since the initial funding of this initiative, we have seen upwards of a dozen CLT’s that engaged communities of color throughout our City. We have made monumental progress.
I graciously request that the CLT Initiative receive continued funding this year, at no less than which was given last year. Let’s honor that engagement by further investing in the CLT Initiative.
Nydia M. Velázquez
Member of Congress