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Picture the Homeless 2427 Morris Avenue Bronx NY 10468 Phone:(646) 314-6423
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: JUNE 14th 2011
QUEENS VACANT PROPERTIES COUNT! Picture the Homeless and Hunter College launch unprecedented survey that will reveal the extent of vacant property in NYC
Contact: Adrian Antonio Paling, or Kendall Jackman, Housing Campaign Leader at Picture the Homeless. Call 646 314 6423 or email: Adrian Antonio Paling. Homeless activists & other speakers will be available for interview on-site.
Far Rockaway, Queens.—On Tuesday, June 14th, Picture the Homeless (PTH) and Hunter College’s Center for Community Planning and Development (HCCCPD) will kick off the Queens leg of the first-ever citywide count of vacant buildings and lots. The survey is unprecedented in scope and promises to yield data that will revolutionize city planning and land use policy. In front of a vacant building and lot that symbolize the many found throughout the borough of Queens, Picture the Homeless members and the broader Queens community speak out about the importance of a vacant property count.
Picture the Homeless member Arvernetta Henry states, “I am presently housed in one of the city’s shelters in Jamaica Queens. It hurts when I walk through the neighborhood seeing all of these abandoned houses boarded up while there are so many people without homes. This count will help us fight to turn these abandoned properties into proper housing.”
Community leaders and elected officials from throughout the city are supporting the initiative. Councilwoman Helen D. Foster whose district has one of the highest rates of vacancy in the Bronx states, “I commend Picture The Homeless for your leadership in the project of locating all of the vacant buildings and lots in the City and making the City accountable to turn them into permanent, affordable housing for low and moderate income tenants as an alternative to warehousing people in shelters.”
"The task of tallying unoccupied lots and buildings is extremely important to the communities in my district, as we fight to create new income-targeted housing and simultaneously mitigate displacement," said New York City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. "This citywide count will give us the data we need to continue advocating as communities for policies that encourage the transformation of vacant properties into housing."
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said “I applaud Picture the Homeless and Hunter College for this latest vacant lot count and I look forward to working with them and others to ensure that New York City mandates an official count of vacant lots and abandoned buildings.”
Bronx resident and Picture the Homeless member Darlene Bryant states, “I lost my home in 2010 due to a corrupt super that used certain city legislation to force me out. As a homeless woman, this count means a lot to me and those have been through homelessness. Counting all of these vacant buildings will lead to possible renovations of the empty buildings we pass everyday in our neighborhoods.”
“I congratulate Picture the Homeless on the start of their important survey. I hope that the data they find will help both the Bronx and the City as a whole to take better advantage of our available housing resources,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
The survey is the latest development in Picture the Homeless’s multi-year campaign to document the extent of vacant property in NYC. PTH argues that vacancy inflates the cost of housing in the city and is a root cause of homelessness. Preliminary findings, available on Vacant NYC (www.vacantnyc.crowdmap.com), maps over 11,000 vacant buildings and lots, city wide: most of which were provided by city agency data.
For interviews with PTH members and Hunter College faculty, call Adrian Paling or Kendall Jackman at 646-314-6423. In addition, PTH will be tweeting updates from the press conference. Follow twitter.com/pthny and hashtag #Count2011