CGA members gain lobbying skills firsthand, by Noah Phillips

Originally published in The Red Hook Star Revue on March 21, 2017.

It had only been light out for a few minutes on the sub-freezing early morning of Monday, March 13 when the black rented van pulled away from the curb in the Columbia Waterfront District. The van was bound for Albany, for the Carroll Gardens Association’s annual lobbying trip on behalf of itself and the statewide Neighborhood Preservation Program. 

The Carroll Gardens Association (CGA), which in addition to providing affordable housing organizes and advocates for tenants and workers in Southwest Brooklyn, is one of New York State’s 205 Neighborhood Preservation Companies (NPCs). Other nearby NPCs include the Fifth Avenue Committee and the Gowanus Canal Community Development Committee. These groups receive state funding via the Neighborhood Preservation Program, which distributed nearly $8.9 million in NY State funds last year.

State Senator Velmanette Montgomery was the last scheduled meeting of the day. She represents NY Senate district 25, which includes Red Hook, Fort Greene, and much of the area around Atlantic Avenue as far East as Bedford-Stuyvesant. 

“It’s not about how I feel about the NPP, the fact of the matter is that the NPCs, for the last 25 years, have been the source of revitalization of communities,” said [Senator] Montgomery. “Before the developers ‘discovered’ Brooklyn, it was the NPCs. Thank God for them.” 

She advised the group to coordinate with other organizations, specifically around the issue of homelessness. “We have to really push, not only for securing you in this budget, but also once we do this, we need to come back together again, as a movement,” said Montgomery. “Because without that, I don’t know where working people are going to be at least in the City of New York, over the next ten years.”

To read the full story about the Carroll Gardens Association visit to Albany, visit