Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Video Clips of Mayor Bloomberg's Trial; Major Legislative Victory on Vacant Property at the State Level!

Dear Friends,

We have posted 12 video clips from last week's trial on YouTube! For those of you who couldn't make it, we have all the highlights - the verdict! the sentence! the heart-rending testimony! the dazzling costumes! the flashy props!:

They can also be viewed, along with 40 other excellent videos from Picture the Homeless, at our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/picturethehomeless

The excellent blog OnNYTurf.com ran a great piece on the action, along with photos from our Flickr stream...: http://www.onnyturf.com/

AND! on June 20th, both chambers of the New York State legislature passed a groundbreaking piece of legislation that eradicates a major incentive for landlords to keep property vacant as a means of real estate speculation. The bill removes the current special tax treatment for vacant land north of 110th Street in Manhattan... Taxing these properties at normal rates will produce an estimated $5 million in new revenues. The bill also features a component to incentivize the development of affordable units on these sites.

This legislation is a direct result of our Housing Campaign's work to stop landlords from keeping buildings empty. The bill was developed at the behest of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, after his collaboration with Picture the Homeless in developing and executing the first-ever Manhattan Abandoned Building and Vacant Lot Count. Following this count, which revealed enough potential apartments in vacant buildings and lots in Manhattan alone to house the entire homeless population of New York City, six separate city and state legislative initiatives were introduced to tackle the
problem... including the "Housing, Not Warehousing" Legislation, written by Picture the Homeless and Council Member Tony Avella: http://www.picturethehomeless.org/housing

For more details on the State legislation: http://www.nyssenate28.com/28/news/08-06-20/serrano_and_farrell_pass_vacant_properties_bill.aspx

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