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How will NYC rise to meet our affordable housing needs?

By John Banks, president, REBNY

It’s been said that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. There’s a new exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) that will help illuminate why affordable housing remains one of New York City’s most pressing needs.

The challenge to create and preserve affordable housing in every neighborhood is a major issue facing all New Yorkers.

To provide greater insight on this seemingly intractable problem, REBNY is working with city officials on MCNY’s newest exhibit, “Affordable New York: A Housing Legacy,” which will examine over a century of affordable housing activism and provide an opportunity for New Yorkers to discover the past and present story of our city’s housing initiatives.

This exhibit will be an enjoyable experience and, more importantly, an educational one.

“Affordable New York: A Housing Legacy” opens Sept. 17.

New York City population growth is well ahead of recent projections and this growth is showing no signs of slowing down. It is critical for New Yorkers to understand the importance of accommodating the housing needs of our new citizens and the pressure population growth has on our existing housing inventory.

REBNY and its members have been working alongside Mayor de Blasio and city officials to develop new programs and incentives that would provide housing that is affordable for all New Yorkers.

Equally important as our city seeks to address its housing issues is our need to explain clearly and comprehensively both how it has become more challenging and difficult today to build rental and affordable housing and how this housing continues to be the foundation of our city’s success.

“Affordable New York: A Housing Legacy” also hopes to raise questions among its visitors that are important for New York City going forward – what exactly is our housing legacy, and how can it be sustained and improved on? How will we rise to meet our affordable housing needs now and in the future? What are some other ways we can achieve diversity and neighborhood stability, and what role does subsidized housing play in terms of the city’s 21st century workforce?

To kick off this exhibit, MCNY is hosting an opening symposium, called “Affordable Housing: What About the Future?” on Thursday, September 17 and 5:30 p.m. at the New York Academy of Medicine. Speaking at this symposium will be former Congressman Barney Frank, Rafael E. Cestero of The Community Preservation Corporation, Ron Moelis of L+M Development Partners Inc., Richard Roberts of Red Stone Equity Partners, LLC, Ismene Speliotis of the Mutual Housing Association of New York, Saky Yakas, AIA of SLCE Architects, Sam Roberts of the New York Times, and myself.

The symposium will not only serve as the grand opening for MCNY’s latest exhibit, but also provide a location for housing advocates, community leaders, city officials, and developers to meet and discuss the state of affordable housing and the role it plays in New York’s future.

In other REBNY news:

Angela Pinsky, our Senior Vice President for Management Services and Government Affairs, will be leaving REBNY at the end of September for an exciting new opportunity as the Executive Director of the Association for a Better New York (ABNY). Over the past five and one-half years, Angela has done a fantastic job as a key member of REBNY’s senior staff. Her understanding of complex issues and her ability to quickly articulate solutions to problems will be greatly missed. We at REBNY look forward to working closely with Angela and her team at ABNY and wish her success and all the best in her new role.

REBNY’s next Residential Rental Clinic Seminar in September 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m in the Mendik Education Center. Presented by Daniel Marrello of Town Fifth Avenue LLC and Douglas Wagner of Bond NY Properties LLC, join fellow REBNY members in this exciting seminar that will teach you more about how to expand and improve your residential real estate business. For more information, contact Yesenia Dhanraj at

We are pleased to let you know that as of Friday, August 7, you may make purchases for the Summer Donation Drive on-line at Babies R Us.  This can be done on-line using Registry # 57117132 or calling (212) 871-3394 and speaking to a Personal Shopper mentioning REBNY Organization. We thank you for your continued support of the Summer Drive and wish you all a great summer.

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