You might remember back in January when Picture the Homeless and Hunter College’s Center for Community Planning and Development collaborated to produce a report entitled, “Banking on Vacancy: Homelessness and Real Estate Speculation.” The report proves that private real estate investors are profiting from keeping buildings uninhabited while at the same time, thousands of New Yorkers are homeless. Instead of revamping these vacant buildings to make them livable for homeless New Yorkers, the city is investing in shelters and temporary housing– clearly not a sustainable solution.
This is why tonight, Picture the Homeless and Occupy Wall Street are calling for a “sleep out” in front of the office of City Council Member Erik Martin Dilan, the man with the power to push forward new legislation, Intro 48. Also known as the “Annual Census of Vacant Buildings and Lots,” Intro 48 would mandate that the city perform a yearly in-depth survey cataloging all vacant buildings in the city. This annual survey would be a first step towards turning vacant properties into affordable housing, providing available homes for all New Yorkers, as well as sparking community development in affected neighborhoods.
Picture the Homeless member Alethea Smalls states, “I invite Councilman Dilan to, for a week, live as though he were homeless with little resources. Perhaps then he will see the struggle that so many New Yorkers face and calendar Intro 48. Intro 48 if presented could aid in the progression of the common good for the quality of life for all New Yorkers.”
The action will start this afternoon at 4:00 pm at Councilman Dilan’s District Office (387 Arlington Ave., Brooklyn) and continue all night.
For more information about tonight’s action and the Picture the Homeless Press Release, click here.