LOWER EAST SIDE COMMUNITY HERO
Nominated by Damaris Reyes, Good Old Lower East Side
This award honored Ricky Leung posthumously.
Ricky Leung was a Board Member of Good Old Lower East Side. He was a Section 8 tenant leader, community activist, son of the Lower East Side and Chinatown, and a true friend of GOLES. Leung was an architect, as well as a member of Community Board 3.
Testimony given before the House Financial Services Committee on behalf of the National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT) by Ricky Leung:
My name is Ricky Leung. I am an architect by profession and a tenant in project-based Section 8 housing; the President of the Cherry Street Tenant Association in the Lower East Side of Manhattan; and the elected Secretary of the NAHT Board… For 30 years, I have grown up in the 488 unit Cherry Street Apartment complex in a Section 8 apartment with my two aging parents, whose stable jobs in the garment industry were largely wiped out after 9/11. Cherry Street has provided a secure home for our family, which I largely support while working as an apprentice architect in Manhattan. Neither my parents nor I would be able to survive long paying full rent in the overheated Manhattan market. The other 487 families in the Cherry Street community are working families, professionals and retirees; old, young, and in between; African American, Caucasian, AsianAmerican and Latino. We are the diverse New York working and middle class, a microcosm of the City and of the nation. As President of the Cherry Street Tenants Association for the past eight years, I have worked to help our community sustain and thrive in the face of increasing threats from a super hot real estate market… In the wake of the traumas inflicted on New York City in 2001, the loss of more than 54,000 affordable housing units is a crisis which we can neither bear nor ignore. The people of our city are still reeling from the after shocks of 9/11. Cherry Street and other subsidized housing developments are home to many of the police, firefighters and health service workers who performed heroically after the 9/11 attacks, as well as many low income and elderly people who simply have no options in the high rental market of New York City.