Serrano Joins Bronx Mitchell-lama Task Force

José M. Serrano

May 10, 2007

Senator Serrano joined Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión along with the Mitchell-Lama Residents Coalition, tenants, neighbors and fellow elected officials to help launch the Bronx Mitchell-Lama Task Force (BXMLTF)on Thursday, May 3rd.

"Preserving affordability in our city should be of the highest priority," said the Senator. "Unfortunately, with the sunset of many Mitchell-Lama housing programs throughout the Bronx and the rest of our city, we are in jeopardy of becoming a town in which only the very wealthy can afford to live. I applaud Borough President Carrion's creation of the Mitchell-Lama Task Force, and I look forward to working with him to keep as many buildings as possible affordable for the people of our community."

Thirty years ago, The Bronx had over 56,000 units of Mitchell-Lama housing; now there are under 35,000 left. Last year alone, The Bronx lost over 2,000 units in 9 Mitchell-Lama developments. BXMLTF will turn talk into action, by holding workshops and panel discussions to expose residents to critical issues and viable solutions. Residents will be taught how they can work with their landlords and government agencies to come to solution that does not displace them. Residents will be given the tools to lobby for fair legislation.

"The solution is an empowered and educated constituency that works together towards a common goal," said Borough President Carrion. "We are hiring a Housing Services Coordinator that will work with tenants, elected officials and advocacy organizations to collaboratively address these issues, as well as issues with other affordable housing developments, such as Project-Based Section 8 and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit buildings."

The Mitchell-Lama program is the most successful housing program in the history of New York State, and yet it has been rapidly disappearing for the past decade. Landlords are opting out of the program and imposing dramatic rent increases, driving out longtime tenants.

BXMLTF will collaborate with other Mitchell-Lama movements in other boroughs and State-wide campaigns.

"How can the City achieve its goal of 165,000 affordable housing units, when we purge thousands of Mitchell-Lama units each year? Losing affordable housing is not only a Mitchell-Lama problem, it is not only a Bronx problem, but a City and Statewide problem, we must be proactive and vigilant in our efforts in addressing this problem," added Carrion.