Hundreds of Housing Activists Rally Outside Gov. Hochul's Manhattan Office, Calling for 100% Affordable Housing on State-Owned Creedmoor Campus in Queens 

On Aust 23, 2023, hundreds of residents from Metro IAF NY – a community organizing network – led by faith and community leaders from around NYC rallied outside Governor Hochul’s NYC office.

The group called on NYS Governor Hochul to use her power to convert the largely underutilized state-owned Creedmoor Psychiatric Center campus in Eastern Queens into a 100% affordable housing development with homeownership opportunities. Totaling around 100 acres, there is room for more than 3,000 units of housing at the state-owned facility at the Creedmoor. 

They called for a community to be built in Creedmoor with affordable housing units for rent and homeownership opportunities similar to the Nehemiah homes that began construction in the early 1980s. The most recent Nehemiah development is Spring Creek in East Brooklyn, a 2,600-unit community that East Brooklyn Congregations – one of the organizers of today’s rally – helped successfully launch and transform. 

Reverend David Brawley, Senior Pastor of St. Paul Community Baptist Church and co-chair of East Brooklyn Congregations and Metro IAF NY stated, “New York City is in an affordability crisis, for hardworking everyday New Yorkers, Black and Brown families, essential workers who make the city run, teachers, firefighters, nurses, senior living caretakers, bus drivers, and so many more that are being forced out of the city against their own will. We are not leaving. We belong. We shall not be moved.”

“Now that I am close to retiring, I worry about securing an affordable place to stay. I do not want to leave New York City, but the high cost of housing is unapproachable. I know other people of my generation are also navigating the uncertainty of rent in New York. It is scary. I know people who are having to decide between rent and food,” said Alma Reyes, Queens renter and non-profit staffer.

“I was born and raised in East New York. I watched the Nehemiah Houses be built, and I watched as it changed the community for thousands of people… This is what I want for the Creedmoor project. It makes no sense that we have acres of land, but we’ve done nothing with it for years. The Governor has the power to do something about this,” said Makeba Thompson, MTA bus operator, and ATU member. 

“I have worked in Queens for two years, and for two years, I’ve been looking. They tell you to go on Housing Connect, and what you have to make is about $100,000 a year… We worked through the entire pandemic, and you were so grateful for the essential workers then, but now when it comes to building homes in the Creedmoor area, you’re silent… What you’re telling me is, ‘You’re good enough to work here, but you’re not good enough to live here’,” said Makeba Thompson, MTA bus operator and ATU member. 

“We have created refugees from New York who have to move out of the city that they love and have to move to other places… I have so many members that have had to move because they could not afford to live here,” said Bishop H.  Curtis Douglas, Co-Chair of Queens Power and Pastor of Dabar Bethlehem Cathedral in Queens Village.

The rally followed Governor Hochul’s announcement in July to address New York’s housing crisis converting state-owned sites into housing. Earlier this summer, Metro IAF affiliate Queens Power led a 1200-person rally in Queens Village to demand affordable housing on the Creedmoor site.

Governor Hochul has publicly promised to issue a Request for Proposals earlier this year, but her office’s anemic pace of action calls to question this administration’s true commitment toward putting the creation of affordable housing above the bad-faith attacks of local civic groups and NIMBY activists.