Debra Medina, organizing director of Los Sures, noted the advocacy Los Sures has brought to residents and seniors of south Williamsburg.
“We continue in our community to fight, to preserve affordable housing, to fight against displacement, to fight against discrimination, to fight for our people,” Medina said of the Los Sures mission.
While families and children danced to live music and met their local elected officials, the representatives of Los Sures spoke of the importance of maintaining their presence in the neighborhood.
Ramon Peguero, executive director of Los Sures, said that while the fight for affordable housing has changed over the years, they are just as focused as ever.
“At the beginning, a lot of landlords were abandoning the buildings so we had to struggle without them, but now it’s the other way around,” Peguero explained. “Now, landlords are coming in and seeing how much resources are in the community and they’re trying to extract those longterm residents to put new ones in.”
Evelyn Cruz, who was there representing Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, was born and raised in the neighborhood and recognized the significance of the event for the residents.
“It is an opportunity for neighbors young and old to come out, meet their community leaders and have an opportunity to reinstate and reaffirm themselves in a predominately Latino community,” Cruz said.
Cruz noted the goal of the community outreach event was to bring awareness to rising rents and the importance of securing affordable housing.
“We have landlords that are seeing the prospect of charging more than $3,000 a month in rent, and that is very lucrative,” she said. “As a result, they have become more scrupulous in their tactics to wrongfully begin eviction proceedings against tenants.”
Assembly candidate Jason Otańo praised Los Sures for their dedication to the neighborhood and stressed the importance of maintaining a presence in the years to come.
“When we look at the level of displacement that has gone on over the last 10 years, this is an organization that has worked toward promoting affordable housing in the area and fighting for the residents that are here and in danger of being pushed out,” Otańo said.