A trio of tenants at one Brooklyn high-rise are documenting their efforts to preserve the building’s future. NY1’s Shazia Khan filed the following report.
At the age of five, Delphine Fawundu moved into Tivoli Towers in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn.
“I lived on the 15th floor so I could see all of Manhattan from the balcony and would just spend a lot of time on the balcony looking out,” recalled Fawundu.
Those childhood memories remain close to home. Now 38-years-old, Fawundu, a special needs public school teacher moved back to Tivoli where she lives with her husband and three sons, just a few floors down from her mother.
Constructed in 1974, the high-rise is part of the Mitchell Lama government-sponsored affordable housing program and is home to many other multi-generational families.
“The financial stability of living here is very good. The community that I’ve grown to love is great to come back too,” said Tivoli Towers resident Nimrod Anthony Clouden.
Back in 2006, many longtime residents were on the brink of displacement when the landlord tried to remove Tivoli from the Mitchell Lama program. Tenants fought back and won an important victory for affordable housing.
Fawundu was part of the struggle and now wants to go beyond the brick and mortar. She has since teamed up with Clouden and another resident to document the people inside the complex.
“Whenever you hear those stories about gentrification or buildings whatever, you always hear about those people, yeah those people, too bad those poor people but who are those people? They have a voice,” Fawundu said.
The photography and film project called “Tivoli Towers: Place We Call Home” will be on view at the Brooklyn Historical Society starting February 11th. Fawundu hopes the project will encourage the landlord to keep Tivoli Towers in the Mitchell Lama program past its 2024 expiration date.