Hearing the Concerns about a Changing Neighborhood

As we continue to build the Trellis Crew, one of the goals is to invite them to and then participate in community meetings. In making these opportunities visible and accessible, they hear about the issues, concerns and hopes of their neighbors and neighborhood, while also bringing valuable, fresh and different perspectives.

The Gowanus neighborhood for the past 2+ years has been undergoing a conversation around a planned rezoning [you can read more about that HERE] that could drastically change the look, feel and flavor of the neighborhood and have very adverse affects on the historic, middle and working poor residents.

Trellis is a part of the Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice that has solidified a justice platform in addressing this rezoning plan.

Recently, we had one of our Trellis Crew attended a GNCJ meeting where Department of City Planning {DCP] and New York City Housing Authority [NYCHA] officials were on hand to answer questions.

Here is what she heard and learned…

At the GNCJ [Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice] meeting were people that work for the government and residents that live in Gowanus and Park Slope. I found it interesting that in this meeting I saw people that live by me and shared many concerns that they as residents would like to see change in. One resident said that construction in Gowanus , Wyckoff and Red Hook needs to happen more efficiently. Much of the construction tends to be abandoned and if construction sites help each other the process would happen a lot more faster. Another resident worried about the ecosystem on 4th Ave. because instead of the government helping with implementing trees along side 4th Ave, they are more worried about creating “affordable housing” in Park Slope. Tall buildings will be a safety concern in the winter when there is no sun and the streets will be a left unattended. What I heard was that residents don’t want to lose the value of the community they live in because of gentrifrication for building “affordable housing.” Also a resident of Gowanus stated that her rent is $200 in NYCHA and when she moved to affordable housing it skyrocketed to $950. In many cases many residents of NYCHA are stuck living in the projects because they are in a lose-lose situation because they are obligated to pay more money in “affordable housing.” Notice how I keep using quotations for affordable housing because the city justification is that it’s based off your income, but in many situations NYCHA [New York City Housing Authority] residents live in 1 parent households or are seniors. At the end of the meeting another resident asked for the city to work with the community because it is them coming into Gowanus to create their infrastures. I came to an conclusion many residents come to these meetings because once residents are affected they are more willing to speak out in their community they were born and raised in.
— Anaya Lino-Suazo is a senior at Brooklyn Prospect and a member of the Trellis Crew

Much of the conversation here revolves around public housing residents, who continue to face horrific, even criminal living conditions [Read more HERE HERE and HERE] GNCJ continues to be vocal about the concerns and needs of these dear, rent, tax-paying, citizens and advocate continually for appropriate and timely improvements.

Having a new and younger generation of concerned residents and citizens, who will bring awareness to and the importance of issues to new and different segments of the population is part of why we do the Trellis Crew.