By Rabbi Mayer Gurkov
Rents are soaring and home prices are astronomical. Young couples looking to survive on basic necessities are struggling to make it here.
Crown Heights is completely unaffordable and it’s the Jews, this time, to blame.
Everyone is in it to make a buck, and obviously the markets set the rates. HHwever, greed is the number one cause of the astounding inflation of rents and home prices in recent years. This problem is not affecting Crown Heights alone, the whole Jewish Brooklyn is becoming, faster than we think, unaffordable.
Historically and sociologically, communities looked after their own, people in power and of influence helped their fellows build and thrive. Today we see the opposite happening, people who say they have power and influence look after themselves. Local building owners and developers are now only in it to win it, they have no feeling at all for their own.
Here’s a situation that happens almost daily: A newlywed couple embarking on a life together, find a small one bedroom apartment on the fourth floor of a walk-up. Price: $1400 a month. The building owner is a Lubavitcher.
I’d love to ask him: How do you feel about charging that much which will cause this young couple financial worry for the whole duration of the rental? Every month the rent is due, this couple will be scared stiff. They have no money, and the little they make they need for food (food!)
So why can’t he get a job, you may ask? Why is he in Kollel? Well, don’t we as Lubavitchers want that? Don’t we want that a young man should, if he could, spend 6 months to a year sitting and learning? Have we lost all respect for Torah?
We are chassidim and we have a Rebbe who wanted young men to learn. Even if the guy is not learning and has a job, the prices make you think for a minute: Why cause financial worry on this new couple, not just anyone but one of your own?!
The problem doesn’t stop there.
The biggest chuzpah are the frum developers from Williamsburg and Borough Park. They come into Crown Heights and build these small apartments with big fees, basically with the intention of making it impossible for a Lubavitcher to move in. The people who say they represent us do nothing, those with ostensible influence just wait for the next photo-op.
I personally heard from a Lubavitcher developer who wanted the buy land on the outskirts of Williamsburg and couldn’t. The community leaders basically threatened him if he dares try and develop property in their community. This is unheard of in Crown Heights. The big talkers let the Williamsburg and Borough Park developers come in and do what they want without even a fight.
We must look after our own. Crown Heights building owners/developers should really think long and hard about the destruction they are causing to their fellow Lubavitchers.
Those who claim to have influence and power, instead of waiting for the next press conference, maybe stand up for the community you say you care about. If they do it in Williamsburg and Borough Park, we can do it in Crown Heights as well.