A Letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio: It's Time for Alicia Glen to Go

October 23, 2017

Dear Mayor Bill de Blasio:

We’ll get right to the point. It’s time for Alicia Glen to go.

While serving as your Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development over the past few years, 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.

Glen can and should be held accountable for the failures of your housing plan.

The latest evidence shows that your housing plan needs a major overhaul in your expected second term. Indeed, according to a recent analysis by Real Affordability for All, much of the housing produced by your administration so far is actually more expensive, in many cases, than asking rents in the neighborhoods where the housing is being developed. That’s unacceptable.

Nearly as many apartments have been built for households making over $85,900 (100% of the median income for 3-person household) as households that make $25,000 (30% of AMI for a 3-person household) a year or less. That’s a horrible outcome for the low-income and moderate-income New Yorkers struggling the most to find or hold onto real affordable housing.

Glen has mismanaged your housing plan, ignoring the needs of New Yorkers who are most vulnerable to displacement and homelessness, and focusing more on pleasing developers and other elite financial interests who profit from gentrification and the luxury housing boom.

Time and again, Glen has favored developers with a track record of gentrifying neighborhoods and making them less affordable for regular New Yorkers who aren’t wealthy. She continues to prioritize developers that she worked with during her many years at Goldman Sachs.

She has failed to build productive working relationships with nonprofit developers, housing experts, and community advocates who know how to make housing policy more attuned to the needs of New Yorkers who are lower-wage earners and have been left behind by your City Hall.

We would know. We are many of the folks Glen has dismissed and ignored.

It’s a bleak picture out here: homelessness is at its highest since the Great Depression, and tenants are being displaced as rents rise, wages stay stagnant, and new housing is constructed for high-income earners in low-income neighborhoods slated for rezoning.

The tale of two cities you were elected to end has intensified and worsened in recent years. 

It’s become a living nightmare for many New Yorkers who are fearful about the future.

The journalist Juan Gonzalez recently published a book on your attempts to reduce income inequality, and he recounts telling you several times that you must fire Alicia Glen: “You need to get rid of her...And until you do, you’re not going to really reshape your housing policies.”

We agree completely with him. So long as Glen oversees your housing plan, you will not succeed at increasing real affordability for low-income and moderate-income New Yorkers.

Personnel is policy, especially when it comes to City Hall appointees and staff who oversee your efforts to create and preserve affordable housing in New York City. 

You should immediately demand Glen’s resignation, and plan to appoint a new Deputy Mayor or team of senior-level aides for your second term who have deep expertise and experience working to increase real affordable housing in low-income and moderate-income communities.

No more Goldman Sachs appointees, please. 

We are happy to provide a list of strong candidates who would do a much better job than Glen, and would join your administration ready, willing, and able to address the overlooked housing needs of low-income and moderate-income New Yorkers. 


CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities 

Community Voices Heard

Families United for Racial and Economic Equality

Met Council on Housing

New York City Community Alliance for Workers Justice

New York Communities for Change

New York State Tenants and Neighbors

Tenants PAC

The Black Institute 

VOCAL New York