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  • Men play chess on the corner of Lennox Avenue and 125th Street in the Harlem, New York,  Aug. 2006

    Men play chess on the corner of Lennox Avenue and 125th Street in the Harlem, New York, Aug. 2006 | Photo: Reuters

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Private investments run counter to local community interests, said a New York based advocacy group.

Gentrification in Harlem, New York has many concerned with the recent sale of affordable housing to private buyers, cutting lower-income people out of the area amid rising rental prices and advocacy group explained in a new report.

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The report, released Tuesday by New York based advocacy group The Real Gentrifiers, takes aim at recent private interests in Harlem which they say demonstrates the “empty rhetoric from a company that is increasing profit at the expense of social responsibility.”

The advocacy group want to “unmask and target those developers who continue to play the biggest role in gentrifying predominantly low-income communities of color while positioning themselves as champions of affordable housing.”

Recently L+M Development sold two major housing developments in the Harlem area to two different private investment firms from Wall Street, which the advocacy group says makes it increasingly unaffordable for local residents.

New York City was also seen to be a major part of the problem by giving private developers taxpayer funded subsidies that allow them to purchase local affordable housing and develop them for private financial gain.

The report explained that private equity companies that acquire local housing “cut operating costs or displace lower rent paying residents and raise rents,” in order to earn their desired profits. Private equity companies were not seen as fit to manage and maintain affordable housing, which in other cases has lead to tenant harassment.

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Advocates warned that affordable housing, which has regulatory agreements that keep rent manageable for low-income people, will disappear in the future.

L+M Development argue that they their mixed-income housing is good public policy for local communities, but the advocacy groups believe that private investors will instead exploit the system for individual profit.

Many local Harlem residents are concerned about the changes and that they may be forced out of the area.
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