You see my friends, on Thursday January 25, 2018, my fellow activists/community organizers and I attended the 6 hours hearing on EMBARK at the government center. EMBARK is a project undertaken by the state and county to build new train and bus stations, new shopping centers and hotels, new apartments and houses, widening of the roads etc etc along Richmond Hwy.
As we witness these presentations by the EMBARK staffs, we were hoping affordable/workforce housing will be part of the plan, but it was not. Of course, EMBARK is a wonderful development especially for the fact that it is projected to bring about 10,000 plus jobs within our community. But these jobs, about half of which will be in the retail sector, can be equivalent to minimum wage jobs. So it is important that the people and families who will be holding these jobs in the retail sector, their residencies are considered within the EMBARK development. Also importantly, we should be having/organizing a more serious discussion about this question: who, in terms of individuals/families residencies in relation to social economic status, will be living in our community after the EMBARK developments and similar projects?
At the hearing, we were informed affordable housing is now on the agenda. I hope we are able to see/review the modifications that are expected to be made and possibly having the 15 percent affordable hosing we are advocating in new the modified plan.