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Hawkins Fasts in Solidarity with Displaced Bowery Tenants on a 3-Day Hunger Strike Calls Housing a Right, Not a Privilege, at Rally outside City Hall
New York City, May 29, 2018 – Howie Hawkins, the Green candidate for governor of New York, is fasting all day outside City Hall in New York City in solidarity with hunger striking tenants from 85 Bowery who were forced out of their building in the middle of a cold night in January.
Speaking at the 11:00 am rally this morning to launch their three-day hunger strike, Hawkins noted that “Hundreds of thousands of working-class New Yorkers have lost their homes in the last decade due to the foreclosure crisis, rent decontrol, the destruction and privatization of public housing, and harassment of tenants by landlords who want rent-regulated units vacated so they can convert them to high-rent units.
Hawkins spoke to the rally about how nine members of his extended family in Syracuse were forced out of a project-based Section 8 building in Syracuse called Kennedy Square. The project was demolished and the land handed over by New York State to COR Development in a no-bid, no-money- down deal. COR is the politically-connected developer with officers who were found guilty or facing trial for bribery, fraud, and bid-rigging in collusion with top officials (Joe Percoco) in the Cuomo administration. No affordable housing was built to replace the 409 units in Kennedy Square.
“We must end the displacement of tenants from affordable housing like Kennedy Square and 85 Bowery. Decent housing should be a right, not a privilege only for those who can afford it. That means strengthening tenants’ rights, expanding rent control, and building more public housing,” Hawkins said.
So many Green panels at Left Forum!
For immediate release: May 29, 2018
Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for governor of New York, will be campaigning this week in New York City from Tuesday, May 29 to Monday, June 4, meeting with displaced tenants, home care workers, criminal justice reformers, climate activists, and Green Party members.
Hawkins will be available for media interviews all week.
Among the activities on Hawkins’ schedule are:Read more
Where: Site of the former Kennedy Square public housing project on S. Crouse Ave. between E. Water and E. Fayette streets
Who: Howie Hawkins and former Kennedy Square residents
Howie Hawkins will lay out his case for a massive expansion of public housing as the only way to make low-to-middle income rents in the larger rental market affordable. He will explain how that centerpiece of his housing policy complements his other housing policies, including rent regulations, inclusionary zoning, and fair housing enforcement.
Hawkins will criticize Governor Cuomo’s 10-year, $20-billion affordable housing program for being fiscally wasteful and an invitation to pay-to-play corruption because it conveys public money to private developers and landlords whose first allegiance is to their private interests, not the public interest.
Hawkins will speak at the site of the former Kennedy Square 400-unit public housing project, which was torn down in 2013 in a no-bid, no-money-down deal that turned Kennedy Square over to a joint venture owned 75% by COR Development and 25% by SUNY Upstate Medical University. Six people involved in that deal — David Smith, Alain Kaloyeros, Steven Aiello, Joseph Gerardi, Todd Howe, Joseph Percoco — are now answering for various pay-to-play crimes, including padding a state salary, bribery, honest-services fraud, wire fraud, or other crimes.
Nothing has been built at the Kennedy Square site. No affordable housing units were built in Syracuse to replace the 400 units lost. The site is now the parking, equipment, and materials staging area for construction across E. Fayette St. for an upscale apartment complex with rents ranging from $1,400 to $2,500 per unit.
Hawkins will also address the reconstruction of public housing proposed by the Syracuse Housing Authority for the Pioneer Homes/Central Village area and how that kind of mixed-income, mixed-use public housing design should be extended into the land that will become available if the Community Grid option, which Hawkins supports, is chosen for I-81 reconstruction.