Community Benefits–A Bronx Tale

Check out this in-depth look by Yes! magazine at the 20 year battle waged by the Northwest Bronx Community Clergy Coalition to ensure that any development of the Kingsbridge Armory would benefit the residents of one of the poorest neighborhoods in N.Y.C.

And the Best news? The coalition has moved on to pursue city-wide legislation on development subsidies and living wages:

After the defeat of the Related shopping center, Ava Farkas, the former Coalition organizer, moved on to work for living-wage policies—not for developments in the Bronx, but for any development receiving public subsidies anywhere in New York City.

“It was the logical next step, to take the energy we’d unleashed and pass legislation so that neighborhoods don’t have to fight with every developer,” says Farkas. “We learned that although our organizing has been getting better and better, our membership base has been getting poorer and poorer. That’s because wealth is leaking out of the borough.”

In June of 2012, the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act passed. Under the terms of the legislation, any private developer accepting $1 million or more in subsidies must now pay employees a living wage of $10/hour with benefits, or $11.50 without. The Act was co-sponsored by Oliver Koppel, a Bronx Democrat, whose council district borders the armory.

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