Opposing Faith-Based Affordable Housing Act

April 11, 2024

The Honorable Brian Kavanagh
New York State Senate
1250 Broadway, Room 2011
New York, NY 10007

Via email: kavanagh@nysenate.gov

Re: Opposition to Faith-Based Affordable Housing Act (S7791/A8386)

Dear Senator Kavanagh:

Lower East Side Preservation Initiative – LESPI – has serious misgivings about the proposed Faith-Based Affordable Housing Act (S7791/A8386).

Specifically, we are concerned that the bill, if passed, would encourage the demolition of historic religious buildings that are individual landmarks or within New York City’s historic districts, by allowing them to evade regulation by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. 

Our neighborhoods’ religious sites serve, among many important uses, as much-loved beacons for our communities. LESPI understands the importance of the proper functioning of our city’s religious institutions as well as the need for more affordable housing. However, we believe that with a little creativity it is possible to support both without encouraging demolition of these important buildings, which will irreparably diminish our city’s neighborhoods and historic districts. 

The Lower East Side – traditionally between East 14th Street and the Brooklyn Bridge – has already lost the landmarked Beth Hamedrash Hagodol on Norfolk Street and the Middle Collegiate Church on Second Avenue. It’s terrible to consider the very real possibility of losing such august religious sites as St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Church on East 7th Street, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection on East 2nd Street, the Sixth Street Community Synagogue on East 6th Street, or the Church of St. James on James Street.

We respectfully urge you not to support this bill until the language has been changed so that it does not undermine New York City’s Landmarks Law. Thank you.


Richard D. Moses

[Similar letters were sent to NY State Assemblymembers Harvey Epstein, Deborah Glick and Grace Lee.]