Among the many items in this week’s news, there was one you may not have noticed. On Wednesday January 5th The New York City Council expanded a housing program that forces landlords to repair buildings they’ve allowed to fall apart and become unlivable.
What is remarkable about the law is not only that thousands of tenants in low-income areas and neighborhoods of color will finally receive some relief from their housing nightmares, but that it was made possible through the community organizing work of a host of organizations that prominently included Make the Road New York . Make the Road is a membership based organization, with offices in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, but it has roots in a legal clinic and a community organizing project that began in Bushwick.
Over the past year alone, Make the Road has been instrumental in improving the conditions for workers, immigrants and tenants alike. Organizations like Make the Road demonstrate what can happen when local people methodically knock on people’s doors, target public policies, work with elected officials, and fight to bring change to their neighborhoods.
Most importantly, organizations like Make the Road demonstrate what can be possible in Central Brooklyn if we build our own independent base of people power.