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Progressive Groups Call For De Blasio To Fire Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen

New York Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen

For all the progress Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration has made in reaching its lofty affordable housing goals, one element has become a sticking point with some progressive activists.

A group of 10 housing advocacy organizations, collectively known as Real Affordability For All, sent a letter on Monday to de Blasio's office asking for the immediate firing of Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, The Real Deal reports.

Before taking her post as deputy mayor, Glen worked in the affordable housing division of Goldman Sachs, and that history has led to deep distrust from groups such as Tenants PAC, the Black Institute and the Met Council on Housing, according to TRD. Monday's letter represents the most direct attempt yet at ousting Glen, and the first one directed at de Blasio.

“Glen has been the biggest obstacle to ensuring that your housing policies meet the needs of low-income and moderate-income New Yorkers hit hardest by the affordability crisis,” the letter reads.

Chief among the group's concerns is Glen's perceived lack of focus on housing directed at families far below an area median income. The group requested more projects like L+M Development's Bronx Point complex, with plans for 600 units of housing for extremely low to moderate-income residents.

Too many other projects, the groups claim, set the restrictions closer to the area median income in order to preserve profit, and as a result can be used by residents with less dire need. The letter alleges the number of units targeted at three-person families making as much as $86K/year nearly equals those for families making $25K or less.

“Who you appoint to be in charge of the program is a policy decision,” New York State Tenants and Neighbors Organization Senior Organizer Katie Goldstein told TRD. “We need to have someone who has extensive experience from the nonprofit housing community.”

Goldstein's organization co-signed the letter to the mayor.

As construction costs in the New York area remain dizzyingly high, funding affordable housing and making a profit is more difficult every day. Meeting the housing needs of those far below an area's median income requires heavy government subsidies, and the groups believe removing Glen could clear the way for a more subsidy-focused mayor's office.

With de Blasio's re-election looking like all but a sure thing, any hope of removing Glen falls on appealing to the mayor himself. City Hall housing spokesperson Melissa Grace responded to TRD by labeling the invective "a ridiculous letter."