September 23, 2016 / Brooklyn news / Downtown / Brooklyn Is Angry

Tenants demand rent freeze, affordable housing at Downtown rally

Brooklyn Paper
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Dozens of disgruntled renters from across the city rallied outside Barclays Center on Sept. 22 demanding lawmakers protect them from high rents, eviction, and landlord harassment, then held a “funeral procession” mourning the sad state of the city’s housing stock.

The ralliers chose Kings County as their battleground because so many longtime locals are hurting from the impact of gentrification over the past decade that has made Brooklyn one of most expensive housing markets in the country, according to one organizer.

“Brooklyn has for the last 10 years has become a brand in and of itself, so we’ve seen hundreds of thousands of people move into the borough,” said Michael Higgins Jr., a community organizer with activist group Families United for Racial and Economic Equality. “People feel it and that’s why they’re out there.”

After assembling outside the stadium, the protesters stormed through the surrounding neighborhoods with placards in the shape of tombstones and coffins, making stops at new Downtown luxury housing complex City Point and the Brooklyn Housing Court, before finishing up at the Gowanus Houses.

The rally was just one of many that took place across the country on Thursday as part of the Renter’s Day of Action — a movement demanding a nation-wide freeze on rents and “unjust” evictions, for all foreclosed homes be turned into affordable housing, and for stronger laws protecting tenants’ right to organize without being harassed by their landlords.

And if the rabble-rousers didn’t achieve their lofty goals, their demonstration at least gave heart to the victims of slumlords who are fighting to stay in their homes, one ringleader said.

“I hope it gives everybody hope,” said Park Slope rabble rouser Rev. Billy Talen, head of anti-consumerism group the Church of Stop Shopping. “The landlords and their lawyers are sometimes very mean-spirited and put false announcements on their doors and intimidate older folks into believing they must give up. But when they have people as you can see of all races and ages, of all genders, of all persuasions, when they see our good feelings, they then will have hope themselves and contact somebody and find out their landlord was bluffing.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Nooter says:
Rent??? More like bent!!! It's all been spent!
Sept. 23, 2016, 8:04 am
Patrick from Bensonhurst says:
1 person requires so many square feet. When 2 people make more than 3 babies, especially at a young age, we run out of room, placing affordable housing at risk.
Sept. 23, 2016, 1:09 pm
Leslie says:
If you get priced out of the city, don't bring your bad reproduction habits with you and destroy what's left of the country.
Sept. 23, 2016, 1:14 pm
Linda from Williamsburg says:
If 421a is reintroduced, any neighborhood that is not contextually zoned or landmarked will be torn down and turned into towers with a handful of not very affordable apartments.
Sept. 23, 2016, 1:39 pm
Erika from Williamsburg says:
Why do so many 'gods' not care about clean water, air and wildlife?
Sept. 23, 2016, 3:16 pm
Corporation says:
As long as you mass produce children, I will remain richer than you.
Sept. 23, 2016, 4:31 pm
Hair from Butt says:
Why do we have to pay at all? Why aren't the apartments free???
Sept. 23, 2016, 6:15 pm
Jon from Prospect Heights says:
Gentrifiers pay for your free schools and housing. They clean up your toxic dumping. They fix your poorly maintained buildings.
Sept. 24, 2016, 9:58 am
Jasmine from Fort Greene says:
Gentrification is best when it comes from within the community. To do this you have to keep your —— tight.
Sept. 24, 2016, 10:11 am
Leslie says:
Subsidized housing should be only for the disabled, refugees, seniors.
Sept. 24, 2016, 10:26 am
Addie from Brooklyn Heights says:

I believe it
Sept. 24, 2016, 10:52 am
Dara says:
I'm too good for where I came from and will pay to squeeze myself into your closet.
Sept. 24, 2016, 7:53 pm
Marshall says:
Moving into the overpriced inflated schlock building, where your home use to stand, makes me feel less like a square.
Sept. 24, 2016, 9:43 pm
MCL says:
I and my many siblings come from a growing third world city without a sewer system. I will smile, when you pay me your currency.
Sept. 24, 2016, 9:56 pm
Maria from Cobble Hill says:
I love popping out children, I've no intention of supporting.
Sept. 26, 2016, 12:03 pm

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