The Erasmus Neighborhood Federation (ENF) was established in 1979 as a federation of block and tenant associations seeking to implement solutions for emerging problems of neighborhood change. ENF primarily serves East Flatbush, an 80-square-block area of Brooklyn, bounded by Clarkson Avenue, Clarendon Road, Bedford Avenue, and Brooklyn Avenue, with a population of more than 170,000.
Forty years ago, the area’s residents were 75 percent white. As the population changed, the neighborhood changed in ethnicity, and declined in average income level. The influx of immigrants has brought new life and new problems. In 1994, 90 percent of the residents were people of color, and 70 percent were immigrants from the Caribbean and Asia. Although the New York City Human Resources Administration Office of strategic Management and Planning shows only a modest 4.2 percent increase in population, ENF has observed a more rapid increase in the number residents, indicating that both the total population and the number of immigrants were undercounted in the 2000 Census.
The neighborhood can be characterized as a low to moderate income working class and undeserved by municipal services and the financial community, with overcrowded schools and increasing population pressure on the available housing stock. The housing stock of some 13,000 structures is mainly multi-unit apartment buildings (78 percent), with the remainder being single and two family dwellings.
The buildings in our primary service area are of three main types; large multiple dwelling (of over 20 units), intermediate size (6 to 20 unit) and small predominantly owner-occupied dwellings that may contain up to 3 additional rental units.
Except for a relatively small proportion of the structures, some older and some younger, most of our buildings, small and large are between 70 and 90 years old. The older, over 70 years were built along and near our mixed-used commercial avenues, our old “trolley” routes, and those below 70 years were built in the years following subway completion. There was an additional flurry of major apartment building just prior to World War II and a final peak of apartment building just prior to the 1967-1968 change in the building rules.
ENF responds to well- documented needs in the community such as: the growing number of residents who need affordable housing. ENF plans to continue responding to these needs through advocacy, counseling and education in areas of tenant organizing and homelessness prevention by implementing direct intervention and collaborative efforts. ENF also intends to continue the newest component of its program, the management of residential buildings in cooperation with local and federal housing department. Through these efforts, ENF seeks to promote neighborhood stability by encouraging private home owners, tenants, landlords and businesses to maintain their buildings by providing the necessary services and amenities that will allow East Flatbush residents to enjoy the benefits of appropriate residential and commercial shelter.
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