GJONAJ, COMMUNITY LEADERS SUE CITY OVER SUPPORTIVE HOUSING BURDEN

Complaint Declares the City to be in Violation of Its Fair Share Provision and Failing to Report a Required Annual Community Impact Index; Public Data Shows that the Bronx has a Dramatically Higher Rate of Supportive Facilities

 

BRONX, NY – Today, New York City Council candidate, Mark Gjonaj, standing with a group of Bronx community leaders, announced the filing of a lawsuit charging that the City of New York is unduly burdening the Bronx with a disproportionate level of supportive housing facilities.

 

The complaint, which was filed in Bronx County Court, cites the City for being in violation of its Charter’s Fair Share provision which requires the issuance of annual “beds to population” index to assess the impact of city facilities on individual communities to ensure equitable distribution of supportive housing options throughout the city. The city has failed to issue this legally required index since 2003.

 

In announcing the complaint, Gjonaj said, “This does not seek to reduce or stop current supportive housing options. It seeks to ensure that each borough in the city pitches in to do its fair share to aid the neediest among us.”

 

According to public data, the Bronx has a dramatically higher rate of beds set aside for homeless individuals than any other borough at a rate of 830.8 homeless beds per 100,000 residents. This far surpasses the rate of the other boroughs: Staten Island (6.5 per 100,000), Queens (425.7), Brooklyn (493.7) and Manhattan (725.5).

 

Gjonaj continued, “As someone who has fought to protect and create affordable housing options for the most vulnerable New Yorkers, I know firsthand the severity of the problem that we face as a city. It is the responsibility of each borough to be part of the solution.”

 

The complaint asks the court to find that the City is in violation of the City Charter’s Fair Share criteria, and that it require the City to issue the mandated annual “beds to population” index so that the fair share criteria can be known when considering any future applications for new or expanded residential facilities.

 

Gjonaj notes that the inequity in supportive housing sites has placed a disproportionate strain on the Bronx’s housing supply, policing, transportation, healthcare and education system.

 

In addition to Gjonaj, residents from communities throughout the Bronx joined the complaint as co-plaintiffs: Clarisa Alayeto, Felix Aponte, Bernard Smith, Mohammed Mardah, Sheila Sanchez, Sara Nunez-Mejia, Jean Hill, Rafael Barbosa, Yasmin Cruz, Gerardina Colon, Janice Walcott and Robert Hall.

 

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