FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Hurricane Relief Workers, Homeless People Demand City "Rebuild Stronger"
Willing to Share Vacant Property Datain Exchange for Commitment on Affordable Housing & Living-Wage Jobs
New York, NY. - Homeless people, Occupy Sandy relief workers, labor unions, and allies will hold a press conference Friday morning to demand that post-hurricane relief and recovery efforts benefit all New Yorkers, especially those who were homeless or unemployed before the storm.
Gathering at a row of vacant city-owned buildings that could be used to house displaced people, attendees will highlight the vast quantity of buildings that are empty in this time of crisis.
"What about the displaced population pre-Sandy?" asks Kendall Jackman, a homeless shelter resident and member of Picture the Homeless. "48,000 people were in the city's shelter system before the storm hit. 20,000 are children, the largest number of children in the system since the Great Depression. The working poor priced out of this city because they are not paid a living wage and real estate owners are greedy - what about them?"
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn told the Daily News in 2010 that it wasn't in the city's interest to count vacant property because it would cost "millions of dollars" to do so, so in 2011 Picture the Homeless counted them ourselves. Tomorrow, we'll announce our willingness to share our findings with the city - but only if they agree to a recovery plan that includes prevailing-wage jobs and housing for very-low-income folks who were underemployed and/or homeless BEFORE the storm.
"Things can't just go back to the way they were before," said Michael Premo of Occupy Sandy. "Those of us who have been in the trenches, doing the hard work of helping people hardest hit by the storm, know that the folks who are struggling the most now are the ones who were struggling before. We need to seize this opportunity to rebuild stronger than we were, and that means finding real housing and decent jobs for all New Yorkers."
WHEN: Friday. November 16th at 9:30AM
WHERE: 116 West 129th Street (between Lenox & Adam Clayton Powell), Harlem, NYC
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