mxgm.org – Crystal House Project

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Greetings of Spring everyone!

Crystal House is a project that recognizes housing as a Human Right.
The right to housing guarantees the right to live in security, peace
and dignity. This right must be provided to all persons regardless of
income or access to economic resources. The right to housing should
not be narrowly defined or restricted to being viewed as a commodity
wholly dependent on market forces. Instead, housing should be viewed
as a fundamental resource indispensable to ensuring human development
and community participation.

The project came together as a transitional low cost living space
dedicated to supporting the growth and leadership of Black & Brown
poor/working/ and queer individuals. Crystal House is a place to
identify, understand and transform colonization and aims to provide a
safe space for holistic healing with access to resources and training.
(find out more at http://mxgm.org/crystal-house-project/)

We currently have two rooms available in our beautiful house in East
NY, Brooklyn. Located a short (5 min) walk from the A/C train at Euclid Ave. J train is also a 10-15 min walk away at Crescent St stop.

One room is on the small side, very cozy but gets amazing light and
beautiful cool breezes in the spring/summer. Has a built in floor to
ceiling shelves and can fit a full size bed & dresser. This room is on
the top floor and goes from 350-$450/month with utilities included.The
second room is on the basement level, and is the larger of the two.
The larger room has a private bathroom with standing shower,
refrigerator, and sink, as well as private entrance via the backyard.
The rent is $600-650 per month including utilities. There is also $20
monthly dues that everyone pays in addition to rent to cover the cost
of common items such as toilet paper, cleaning supplies & wireless
services. Both rooms are available on a month to month basis, for
short or long tetm stay.

You must:
-Be POC ( This is a POC space)
-Be able to pay your rent on time. This house is a cooperative in many
ways, one being economic. If you can’t pay your rent, it puts the
entire house at risk. You don’t need to have a job just a way to pay
your bills on time, how ever that may be (judgement free zone).
-Be willing to participate in the co-operative lifestyle. What does
that mean? As a housing cooperative, we take turns doing the chores
that keep our home clean & beautiful. Chores are rotated on a weekly
basis at random according to the chore chart, everyone gets a turn at
everything.
We also have house meetings bi weekly and house dinner bi-weekly.
Attendence is required by everyone who lives in the house.

Some other things to know:
-Two of us have young children. One of which stays at our house
bi-weekly. The others come every weekend. This is just an fyi to say
that if you don’t like children, this may not be the place for you.
-We also have two house cats Shaka & Ginger. Very sweet & loving cats
that occasionally pretend to be blind and poop in the sink/bathtub.
At this time we are not accepting any more animals into the space. If
you have fish or something, that’s fine but no cats/dogs.. Sorry.

-There is a garden in our backyard which we are bringing back to life so we’d highly appreciate anyone with experience or interest in participating in this project. There’s also a 20-year-old community garden around the block which the house has historically been involved and which we encourage participation with.

-We don’t have cable but we do have a tv with DVD player & wireless service.

What is the process in getting housing at Crystal House?

Folks interested in living at Crystal House meet the current headz
living in the space to see whether or not folks are feeling one
another. If all goes well and you are still interested folks who live
in the house take a vote where everyone must agree.

If all this sounds like a place you can love living in, contact Asere
at 646-483-0514(please text before hand) or email at
asere3000@gmail.com

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Welcome to East New York Brooklyn!

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No, not East Brooklyn, East New York!

When I moved here in 2007 I was highly reluctant and devastated to even have to succumb to seeing apartments in this historically impoverished, crime and drug ridden neighborhood. In what I considered to be deep in Brooklyn, I did not want to move here. All I saw was poverty. The train stations had graffiti, the streets looked secluded and empty, without life. I could just smell the crack heads hiding in the crevices, waiting to come out and catch a hit. I assumed every saggy pants wearing hood was a drug dealer. But my situation didn’t allow me to look too much longer for an apartment, or to be able to afford living in up & coming neighborhoods such as Crown Heights, the one I actually grew up in.

I was stuck, East New York was it.

I turned down a large 3 bedroom on a quiet block around the corner from the train because bars covered the entire house, and didn’t have hardwood floors. I am picky. By the time I’d come to my senses and decided I wanted the apartment, the landlord changed his mind and decided to rent out all the rooms to individuals and not me and my small family.

Other apartments I saw were slums. Barely renovated, landlords asking for more rent than the apartment deserved. Finally one of the brokers I saw (in East, NY) understood me, and showed me a large 3 bedroom with hardwood floors and I moved in.

I lived there for three-years HATING IT. East, NY lived up to it’s horrid reputation. Because I don’t want to scare you, I won’t say in which ways. But it was live and ratchet and I was ready to go. I lived on one of the wildest blocks in the hood. As I was ready to find the new space something started changing. Police presence became heavy and the wildness of the block I was on calmed down.

But it wasn’t all peachy keen at first. My son had gotten “stopped and frisked” because he was wearing a hoodie and looking “suspicious” far too many times. It pissed me off! But this was happening in many impoverished or urban, people of color consumed neighborhoods throughout NYC, so that soon came to an end when most of the POC in the city started to go up in arms about this racial profiling tactic the NYPD was using against it’s citizens.

I was on the hunt again, in the same hood that I didn’t want to live in when I first go there. I’d finally gotten used to it. Those reasons will be outlined in the next post.

I got lucky and found a slamming duplex, on a more quiet strip just several blocks away from my former place. Finally, I felt rested. Now that I’ve settled in here, I am starting to find little gems around this neighborhood that make me happy to be here. This is why I decided to start this blog. People are sleeping, not realizing what this neighborhood is and why it’s a good place to come to, to live in. I tried to offer this place to friends to stay with me when they are in between places but they refused claiming it’s too far, and that they’ve never heard of it. I no longer offer my space to New Yorkers, only out of town guests who want to crash with me on the short term.

Sucks for them. Most of the New Yorkers I know are renting rooms in all the gentrified areas because it’s too expensive to live alone. They sacrifice space to live in, rent storage boxes for the things they can’t fit so they can live right near the “action” although they live in a closet.

While I’m not saying this is the best neighborhood to live in, I am saying it’s not the East New York I knew about when I was growing up. And in it’s former life, Crown Heights, the LES and Bushwick, all where people are flocking to now had the same or worst reputations as East New York once did.

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover and let go of the past. I’m not saying I want this area gentrified, I’m saying I want this area to be recognized as having some luxuries others may not offer. Existing,  growing, and rich, it’s one of the last places in Brooklyn where you can not only afford to live here on your own, you actually don’t have to live in a closet too.

So, if you know about or preferably live in East New York, Brooklyn and respect the quality of this neighborhood, shoot me a message. Tell me what businesses you’d like to have highlighted. Would you like to show off your apartment? What good things would you like to say about this ‘hood? So many bad things are out there–let’s show love to this forgotten neighborhood.

Updates coming soon…