New York’s Loft Law Protects People of Color from Further Gentrification

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An amendment to the Loft Law, a little-known piece of New York City tenants’ rights legislation, has become the center of a heated argument over affordable housing in north Brooklyn. The law requires landlords to bring their covered manufacturing, commercial, and warehouse buildings up to residential fire, health, and safety code standards. It also protects eligible residential tenants in those buildings from eviction and rent hikes. The amendment would expand the number of tenants eligible for Loft Law protection.

Recently, State Senator and Democratic socialist Julia Salazar — who has distinguished herself as a voice in the fight for universal rent control — turned against the law despite its record of providing stability for low-income tenants. Salazar and her staff claim that the law aids gentrification and undermines the livelihoods of people of color, who have already been deeply affected by gentrification in…

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5 comments

  • tamsen01

    Thank you!! This is such a thorough and thoughtful account of the situation. Those of us fighting tooth and nail for the legalization and rent stabilization of these illegal loft spaces are not the enemy. Nor are we the problem. The assumption by those in the Salazar camp that residents of IMD buildings (buildings in the process of legalization) are not working class, elderly, people of color, small business owners, or manufacturers is false and insulting. If they shut down residential living in these buildings they will likely become WeWork offices and work against everything she is fighting for.

  • dvillalongo

    I am excited about the future value of the North Star. The enlightenment through relavent and fluid subject matter will be priceless. This article focuses attention on an issue of interest for Black American, that is long overdue.

  • torresmoskovitz

    Thank you for this article! Community should be united together – as AOC said recently regardin NYC school system – the battle is up/down not across our community (dividing people instead of uniting them) that has seen endless rezoning and displacement. They have tried to do that with the Women’s March too – criticize and conquer and divide but if we stand strong together – we are better. My husband is a NYC public school teacher – first generation – his family is from South America. We have been living in a manufacturing building with residential tenants for 19 years and have a strong community here. Our son is in public high school and is born and raised in this building – its all he knows. His childhood friend/neighbor who is 16 as well. His mom is a single mom who is a chef and can invent her cooking career while taking care of her son. I have my woman-owned architecture practice that has allowed me freedom to support and mentor young talent, raise a family, and build my own business in sustainability/architecture with my vision. It is tough to be a women-owned architecture firm (usually a couple of architects if at all)! The only way we could afford it is by live/work – and the ability to have the office in the front part of my apartment. The amount of incubator / small business that could empower all different families and young people if they can have an affordable live/work situation! Not sure if anyone outside of this Loft Law debacle realizes what has occurred over the last 6 weeks via misinformation and trying to pit people against each other – but it is not how I envision the ultimate goal of MLK’s Beloved Community – of equity, fairness, justice, and opportunity for everyone.

  • asafransky

    This paints a vivid picture of the situation. Seems to be good-intentioned people on both sides of this issue with valid points, but there needs to be more open communication and dialogue

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