ENY CLT is a coordinating committee member of the New York City Community Land Initiative (NYCCLI). We stand with CLTs and activists across NYC in the fight to bring the demands listed in the manifesto below to fruition.
We stand with protestors worldwide rising for Black lives and liberation. The COVID-19 pandemic has torn the lid off decades of discriminatory housing, labor, land-use, and environmental policies, rooted in legacies of slavery, genocide, and land grabs. It has deepened inequality in our city and threatened to accelerate displacement and homelessness in our communities.
More than ever, we must act to fundamentally change our economy to ensure racial equity and a just recovery. Land use and community development must reverse and repair historical harms done to Black, brown, and immigrant communities, promote the health and safety of community residents, and be environmentally sound.
As community groups and activists organizing community land trusts (CLTs) in NYC, we are fighting for the self-determination of people and communities of color, including through development that is deeply and permanently affordable, community-led, and removed from the speculative market. We reject austerity measures that threaten to plunge our communities into even more desperate conditions. We call on NYC to divest from policing and incarceration, and invest in CLTs and other community-controlled initiatives that address root causes of displacement, homelessness, and poverty.
We must immediately house homeless New Yorkers, cancel rent, and release people from prisons, to save lives now.
- House homeless New Yorkers now. We join with #HomelessCan’tStayHome organizers in calling on NYC to immediately house all homeless New Yorkers and end law enforcement sweeps and targeting of homeless New Yorkers. And we call on NYC to permanently house every homeless New Yorker after the crisis — including by shifting spending from shelters to deeply- and permanently-affordable housing on CLTs.
- Cancel rents and mortgages. We join with Housing Justice for All in calling for rent and mortgage cancelation for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, with relief funds provided to nonprofits and small landlords. At the state level, all existing rents should be frozen, tenants should have the right to renew their leases, and good cause eviction must be passed. We call for cancelation of commercial rent during the crisis and support passage of commercial rent regulation to protect small businesses for the long term.
- Decarcerate NYC and Defund NYPD. We join with Communities United for Police Reform and No New Jails in calling for the release of people from NYC jails, an immediate halt to new jail construction, and cuts to NYPD’s bloated budget. Instead of pouring millions of dollars into prisons and police, NYC must invest in community-led initiatives that ensure self-governance, restorative justice, and true community safety.
We must give communities control over land and housing, to advance development that meets local needs and ensures true community safety.
- Direct land, housing and subsidy to CLTs. Public land and subsidies must be reserved for CLTs and other forms of social housing that reach deep and permanent affordability, and provide for meaningful tenant and community control. Public land must be used for public good.
- Pass Opportunity to Purchase legislation at the City and State levels, to provide a right of first refusal to tenants, CLTs, and affordable housing providers when landlords sell property. At the federal level, we support the Emergency Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act to provide immediate rent and mortgage relief and establish funding and nonprofits’ first right to purchase rental properties.
- End the private warehousing of vacant properties and the private sale of tax liens — and channel properties to CLTs and nonprofit developers for long-term preservation.
- Develop and expand acquisition programs, like the NYC Acquisition Fund and the Community Restoration Fund, to keep land out of the speculative market, preserve long-term affordability, and keep residents in the neighborhoods they helped to build.
- Strengthen public housing by reaffirming the City’s obligation to the NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA), ending privatization of NYCHA management, and fully funding NYCHA’s capital needs. Expand resident control by making residents land stewards to ensure healthy living conditions for years to come.
- Promote democratic, transparent, and accountable planning by overhauling the City’s land use review process. Land use and planning must be community-centered, and promote affordability for those most impacted by displacement and homelessness. We call for an immediate moratorium on rezonings and profit-driven development on public land.
- Preserve and expand public spaces and community gardens. We call for robust public investment in public spaces, including community gardens, which must remain under community control and be developed in conjunction with, and not in place of, affordable housing.
We must invest in NYC’s growing cooperative economy, to build power in Black, brown, and immigrant communities.
- Promote cross-sectoral cooperative development. NYC must advance policies and funding — across agencies and sectors — to support CLTs, social housing, worker-owned businesses, financial and food coops, and community-owned renewable energy infrastructure. These democratically-controlled initiatives meet critical community needs, and promote shared ownership and control by people and communities harmed by our current economy.
- Develop public banks. NYC must leverage public money to support economic development that advances racial, economic and environmental justice — including CLTs and social housing, worker cooperatives, renewable energy, and equitable financial services. We support creation of a NYC public bank and passage of the NYS Public Banking Act to create a framework for public banks across the state.