2011 was a banner year for Churches United For Fair Housing (CUFFH). Early this year, they successfully advocated for the affordable housing component at the “New Domino” development. Along with 660 new units of affordable housing, come 500 new skilled labor-training opportunities and 500 on-site permanent jobs. Later, they rolled out North Brooklyn 311 (NB311), a referral service that directs residents to resources and services in and around North Brooklyn. Services such as job training, adult and financial literacy education, affordable housing information, one-on-one counseling and legal advice are made available to residents through CUFFH and NB311. Five NB311 workshops were held during the initial period, resulting in more than 1200 families completing applications for the Navy Green affordable housing development.
On Thursday, October 6th, CUFFH gave itself a well-deserved pat on the back at their annual dinner at Giando’s on the Water. Elected officials, community leaders and supporters joined CUFFH and executive director Rob Solano to honor Michael Lappin, Marjorie Parker and Shekar Krishnan for “creating tangible differences” in the community. “This year, our organization underwent strong and positive revitalization as we expanded upon our mission,” said Solano. “Our greatest accomplishments have always stemmed from our ability to effectively advocate for affordable housing, but we now also strongly advocate for sustainable living communities that provide health, education, open space and economic development.”
The 8-year old CUFFH is a grassroots organization with a focus on housing, open space, education, health and economic development needs in North Brooklyn. “Since its inception, CUFFH has been in the forefront, advocating for social and housing justice, particularly during the rezoning of the Williamsburg waterfront’” said Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez. “It has been courageous and persistent in identifying and challenging discrimination and inequity in housing development.” Councilmember Diana Reyna said, “CUFFH has become an essential part of the fabric of North Brooklyn – a stabilizing force to thousands of residents who have come to rely on their services.”
The dinner doubled as a fundraiser, CUFFH’s largest of the year. Among next year’s goals are the expansion of NB311 and a stronger role advocating on the development of the Broadway Triangle and the usage of the Pfizer properties. They will also continue seeking funding for the Williamsburg-Greenpoint Tenant Anti-Displacement Collaborative. The collaborative, of which CUFFH is a member, has had a dramatic impact protecting long-term, low income residents from being displaced as the community has gentrified. Included in the many words of encouragement and congratulations were these from Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz: “On behalf of all 2.6 million Brooklynites, I salute and commend Churches United For Fair Housing for their unwavering commitment to enhance the quality of life for all segments of the community. CUFFH’s programs and campaigns work toward ensuring a vibrant neighborhood and borough.”