October 15, 2019
Daniele de Groot, 732-859-5915

***Press Release***

State Senate Candidate Josue Pierre Calls for Housing Built on Formerly Public Lands to Be 100% Affordable

Cites Rikers Closing as Prime Opportunity to Put Policy into Practice
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Josue "Josh" Pierre, a Democrat running for Senate in Brooklyn's 21st District, today called for the City and State to establish a binding policy that requires all housing built on formerly public lands to be 100% affordable. Pierre cited the ongoing debate over the future of Rikers Island as an opportunity to put this policy into practice, pledging to introduce legislation in the Senate to achieve this goal.
"New York City is in an affordable housing crisis, and we cannot afford to keep selling off publicly-owned real estate to luxury developers instead of creating housing for working families. The luxury apartment market is saturated, but our politicians routinely go for the quick buck which leads to more wasted opportunities to create real affordable housing on land that already belongs to the public," said Pierre. "With the Council looking to force the City to close Rikers, which is the right thing to do, they can make it a win-win by also increasing affordable housing. This would put New York on a steady path to continually increasing our affordable housing supply."
During his time in the New York City Comptroller's Bureau for Economically Targeted Investment (ETI), Pierre worked to invest millions of pension dollars to help create thousands of units of affordable housing throughout the five boroughs. The ETI program is designed to address market inefficiencies by providing capital or liquidity to underserved communities, and the program has invested over $2 billion across the City since its creation in the 1980s.
Recent reports have found that a quarter, roughly 4,100, of New York luxury apartments are unsold . As the City Council moves to close Rikers by 2026, there is already speculation about what will happen to the island.
"Rikers is only one opportunity, but this needs to be the policy for ALL public land that is sold off for housing. If we're going to solve these big-picture issues facing our city, we need bold solutions. When elected to the Senate, I will introduce legislation to require that housing built on formerly public land is affordable for working families," said Pierre.
Pierre also criticized state officials for continuing to rely on a misleading and inaccurate definition of "affordable," demanding that affordability be based on neighborhood income levels, not regional incomes that include households in ultra-wealthy parts of the City and places like Westchester and Putnam Counties .
"New York City and New York State rely on the federal government's definition of Area Median Income, or AMI, when determining affordability. That's ridiculous," said Pierre. "Under their standards the median income is nearly $75,000 for an individual living alone and over $106,000 for a family of four . That is not the reality for families in East Flatbush and Flatbush -- the actual median household income in my district is just $55,000, and the individual income in $28,000 . We need homes for those working families, not more displacement."
Pierre and his family emigrated from Haiti when he was five, and he has lived in the 21st District ever since. He attended public schools and graduated from Baruch College with a degree in accounting. Pierre most recently served as the Brooklyn Borough Director for New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer where he led a team to connect Brooklyn residents with government resources and services. Pierre has served as a Democratic District Leader for the 42nd Assembly District since 2016 and is a founding member of the Shirley Chisholm Democratic Club.