Religious institutions are a bedrock of neighborhood life and identity, and serve as a social and cultural resource for thousands of New Yorkers. When religious congregations are faced with real estate challenges and must move or close, the impacts on the surrounding community can be significant. Since 2014, my office has worked to assist them in meeting their challenges – which have been particularly serious in Central and East Harlem, Washington Heights, and the Lower East Side.
So this fall I have formed a Religious Facilities Task Force (RFTF), inviting scores of stakeholders to meet and discuss strategies around these issues. These meetings aim to establish working connections between representative stakeholders from Manhattan congregations, non-profit developers, preservation groups, and government agencies. Together, we will explore how buildings that are consecrated and designed for religious purposes can be repurposed, shared, preserved, or redeveloped for affordable housing or non-profit use.
On May 7, 2020, the members of the New York University Graduate Student Capstone team presented their findings to the Religious Facilities Task Force stakeholders. Here’s a video of the Capstone presentation , a transcript  of their presentation, along with a transcript of the Zoom chat  afterwards.
The general public may send comments and questions to the Religious Facilities Task Force at RFTF@manhattanbp.nyc.gov .
RFTF Meeting Minutes
- October 11, 2019: Agenda  / Minutes 
- November 15, 2019: Agenda  / Minutes 
- December 13, 2019: Agenda 
- January 10, 2020: Agenda 
- Presentation by NY Attorney General’s Office on Faith-Based Real Estate Development  (Oct. 11, 2019)
- Presentation by Canon Law Professionals, LLC on Canon Law  (Nov. 15, 2019)
- Presentation by RiseBoro on Case Studies in Faith-Based Development  (Dec. 13, 2019)
- Presentation by the NYC Dept. of Housing & Preservation on Affordable Housing and Faith-Based Communities  (Dec. 13, 2019)
- Presentation by Goldstein Hall on Programming Religious Facilities for Maximum Benefit  (Dec. 13, 2019)
- Presentation by Partners for Sacred Places on Creating Spaces: Performing Artists in Sacred Spaces  (Jan. 10, 2020)
- Presentation by the NYC Dept. of City Planning on Religious Facilities Development Opportunities  (Jan. 10, 2020)
Two public hearings were held to collect written and verbal testimony from the community…
Public Hearing #1 (November 25, 2019):
Public Hearing #2 (January 14, 2020):