July 25, 2019
by MHCC Executive Committee:
One of the Morningside Heights Community Coalition’s primary objectives is to promote permanent affordable housing in our neighborhood as a matter of policy. We recognize that economic diversity is one of the strengths of our community and that long-term residents are a critical aspect of our local culture. Recently, we made an impact on this front by supporting a local family threatened with eviction. Columbia University decided to evict an elderly family with an adult son with special needs. The family lived for eight months with the terrible fear of losing their home of 40 years.
However, MHCC made use of contacts with elected officials, Councilmember Mark Levine and Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell. We also contacted the activist group PA’LANTE Harlem. We met with Columbia and urged them not to jeopardize their fragile reputation in the community. Columbia changed its mind and decided to give this family a rent-stabilized lease tht will provide them a stable and secure home on West 111th Street.
The University’s laudable recognition that the family should stay serves as an excellent example of supporting local community development. We thank Columbia for doing the right thing in this situation and urge them to ensure that all the long-time Morningside Heights residents that live as good neighbors in Columbia buildings can remain.
Overdevelopment is a real threat to Morningside Heights. It has been underway for years and the results are noticeable in many ways. In order to manage this disruption and preserve our neighborhood’s authenticity, affordability, and diversity, we need to continue engaging with local officials, institutions, landlords, and real estate developers. Without these interventions, the unique character and quality of life of Morningside Heights will continue to diminish and eventually disappear.
Please join us in this effort. www.mhccnyc.org; @mhccnyc.