Housing Property Taken from ‘Working-Class Latinos’

19 Kingsland Ave. (center) in East Williamsburg. (Photo by Kelly Mena via Kings County Politics)

[Update: An earlier edition of the post incorrectly stated that City Council member Antonio Reynoso’s office was investigating instances of the Third Party Transfer program.]

Kings County Politics continues to report on a series of small property seizures and transfers that have occurred in Brooklyn as gentrification and development sweep the borough. Many of the owners are older Black and Brown residents, write Kelly Mena and Stephen Witt in Kings County Politics, and have paid down all loans on their properties, maintained their buildings and paid any property taxes owed. The problem is that sometimes those taxes have not been properly credited to the owners.

Ownership has been transferred by the city to both nonprofit and for-profit developers. In their most recent story, Mena and Witt report on how working-class Latinos have been affected.

Yudy Ventura, 52, a bookkeeper, and her husband Julio, a truck driver, sit in their modest, well-kept living room surrounded by their fellow Hispanic neighbors and recount stories of Christmases past – hard times and good times. But now these six tenant families at 19 Kingsland Avenue face losing thousands of dollars of their life savings and all the equity they have in the building through the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s (HPD) Third Party Transfer program (TPT).

And to add insult to injury, the large non-profit St. Nick’s Alliance at 2 Kingsland Avenue across the street – who they thought was helping them retain their equity in the building – has become their new landlord.

“We raised our kids here. We are working people. We want to stay in our homes. We’ve been here for decades. They [St. Nick’s Alliance and city Department of Finance] told us that we needed to pay and needed to pay and we did pay, so why did they still transfer our building?” said Ventura.

For more on the TPT program and the problems that have arisen, go to Kings County Politics.

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