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Councilwoman Draws from Own Experience to Bring Affordable Housing to Bronx

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Bronx City Councilwoman Annabel Palma's own experience as a child living in substandard conditions has kept her focused on delivering affordable housing to the residents of her district. NY1's Errol Louis filed the following report.

Councilwoman Anabel Palma takes a special interest in affordable housing. During one stretch of her youth, Palma’s family was in a building so rundown that they were forced to leave for safety reasons.

"It was a brutal winter. The pipes had busted. There was—I remember putting on my ice skates and ice skating in the living room. That's how bad it was, but we were little kids. We didn't know any better," Palma says.

That same building where Palma once lived is now a facility to help families make the transition out of homeless shelters, part of a district-wide effort to help people find a place to live.

District residents have a wide range of health needs, which are met by a network of clinics.

One of the best-known facilities was once run by Palma’s predecessor in the City Council: Pedro Espada Jr., who is currently in federal prison for looting the agency.

"We don't have a hospital in this district. We don't have a major hospital, so these health care centers are extremely important to the community and there's a reason why it's stayed open," Palma says.

Not every portion of the district is struggling. In Clason Point, new homes are going up that cater to a fast-growing middle-income population.

"I think in terms of the home ownership, is giving the people of the community who have, you know, made it to a certain point in their life when they can afford to buy a home, to come into this area and actually stay in this community," Palma says.

You really have to update your thinking about this part of the Bronx.

This is an area where there's a ton of new housing development going on right across the street.

Making sure that the possibilities of this district really come to life is going to be the job that faces Annabell Palma in her remaining years. It will be a job for her successor as well.

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