by Editorials at The New York Daily News
October 10, 2011
Drenched and determined, from a multitude of neighborhoods and faiths, they massed by the thousands Monday on the sidewalks outside City Hall — from East Brooklyn, from the South Bronx, from southeast Queens, from Manhattan up and down.
Those rallying under the banner of the group Metro-IAF united in common crisis, knowing well that almost nowhere in this city can lower-wage workers find decent housing within their means without literally winning a lottery.
Four years ago, Bill de Blasio had anointed himself the man to rework the no-solution equation. Elected mayor, he committed to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing and is now well on his way.
Now comes the human reality check.
Mayor, meet Tawana Myers of Brooklyn's Linden Houses, living amid lung-choking mold.
Meet Blanche Romney of Bushwick, as a homeowner a winner in her neighborhood's gentrification — but now unable to give aid to her senior citizen neighbors being pushed out in droves.
Meet Amber Harrison, a teacher in East New York who commutes from New Jersey for want of an affordable apartment in the boroughs.
And a happy tale amid the horror stories: Olivia Wilkins, a former NYCHA resident who now comes home to Redwood Senior Living, a residence for the elderly carved out of a public housing parking lot in Brooklyn.
"It feels like Paris," she says of her new surroundings.
Metro-IAF wants de Blasio to build 15,000 more apartments like these, freeing up larger public housing units for a new generation of the needy. Controller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Tish James and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries told the crowd they're on board.
But so righteously sure is Mayor de Blasio his past programs will suffice that he followed a recent meeting with Metro-IAF leaders with a letter reminding them of his achievements, suggesting they could help him along.
He got that backwards: The men and women who spent their Columbus Day holiday standing in soaking rain are blazing a path the mayor now must follow.