U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Central Brooklyn, Coney Island) last night vowed in his 5th Annual State of the District Address to keep Spring Creek Gardens, also known as Starrett City, affordable even with its recent change in ownership.
The East New York complex, opened in 1974, is the largest federally subsidized housing development in the nation. According to Jeffries, under current state law the development must remain affordable through the year 2039. Thereafter, any owner can charge market rate value, possibly displacing many of its 14,000 residents.
Last fall the current owners announced a potential sale. The family of President Donald Trump has a small interest in the complex.
Jeffries made his remarks before more than 1,600 constituents and elected officials who packed the Brooklyn Technical High School Auditorium, 29 Fort Greene Place in Clinton Hill
“I’ve been working hard to make it clear to New York State Housing officials under the leadership of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and to the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development that if any change in ownership is approved, the existing affordability agreement must be enforced,” said Jeffries, adding he is pushing for an extension on the current 2039 affordability deadline to be extended and to ensure that no resident is displaced.
Jeffries also mentioned that he is lobbying other Democrats to hold off on voting for the President’s trillion dollar infrastructure plan unless the New York City Housing (NYCHA) capital maintenance and repair needs are met.
This winter, NYCHA residents throughout the city faced frigid living conditions because of boiler malfunctions. The breakdowns were often attributed to 50-year-old heating systems.
Jeffries used much of his speech to blast both Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress.
“Now these are challenging times, Nor’easters in New York, hurricanes in Florida, Texas and the Caribbean, wildfires in California and a man-made disaster in Washington DC,” said Jeffries, who pledged never to support any of the current administration’s efforts into an unjust war.
Jeffries often quoted hip hop mogul Sean “P-Diddy” Combs’ mantra of “Can’t Stop. Won’t Stop” throughout his speech to imply a sense of urgency to continue what he called a principled resistance.
The Congressmember told the audience that the Republican agenda is to put a target on residents who live in blue states like New York so that they can help their rich friends get richer. Jeffries called the new tax bill a bait and switch, and ‘ponzi’ scheme, pointing out the temporary status of individual tax cuts versus permanent tax cuts for corporations.
Democrats have criticized the recent tax overhaul, claiming the bill benefits mostly large corporations and unfairly targets high-tax states such as New York and California.
Jeffries informed the audience that his office, in partnership with the Urban Upbound program, will be hosting free tax preparation assistance to help residents with this year’s taxes, and to answer questions about next year’s taxes when the new bill goes into effect.
The Congressmember ended with a fiery call to action while he listed the ousting of former presidential aide, Steve Bannon and Republican’s unsuccessful attempt at repealing the Affordable Care Act as Democratic victories.
U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Crown Heights, Flatbush, East Flatbush, Sheepshead Bay, Brownsville), Public Advocate Letitia “Tish” James (D) and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) were also in attendance.