Odendhal says he will fight for affordable housing
Compelling primary race in 44th Assembly District
Charging that elected officials in Park Slope, Kensington and other Brooklyn communities have done nothing to create affordable housing, Troy Odendhal, a candidate in the Democratic Primary in the 44th Assembly District (AD), vowed that he would fight to bring housing issues to the forefront.
“While our elected leaders are broiled in scandals or creating backroom deals to protect their own personal and political interests, families are struggling,” Odendhal told the Brooklyn Eagle via email.
A freelance radio producer, Odendhal is one of three candidates vying for the Democratic party’s nomination to run in the general election on Nov. 8 in the 44th AD (Park Slope-Kensington-Windsor Terrace). The three-man race features Odendhal, Robert Curry-Smithson and Robert Carroll.
Assemblymember James Brennan, who has represented the district since 1984, announced in May that he will not seek re-election. Brennan has endorsed Carroll.
Odendhal, who is studying for a master’s degree at the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College with a concentration in urban development and sustainability, said the high price of housing is causing a ripple effect in the AD.
“Across our district, families are having trouble staying rooted in the community. They must choose between growing their family or leaving their neighborhood and sometimes leaving the district altogether for housing in Long Island, Westchester or New Jersey. This problem affects people of all ethnicities and socioeconomic classes and it rips at the fabric of sustaining healthy, vibrant communities. In the last seven years, elected officials serving Brooklyn’s 44th district have created no affordable housing. So while some may speak of reform and progressivism, it is not enough to merely talk. If a true advocate for the 44th was ever needed, that time is now,” Odendhal said.
Odendhal has a deep understanding of the struggles of families seeking affordable housing, according to a biography provided by his campaign.
Due to his family’s search for affordable housing, Odendhal has lived over the years on Ditmas Avenue, Beverley Road and Coney Island Avenue in Kensington as well as Vanderbilt Street and Prospect Park Southwest in Windsor Terrace, according to the biography.
At the start of his professional career, he resided in a house on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 16th Street in Park Slope.
Odendhal would be priced out of the district twice, but returned in 2010 and currently lives in Kensington, according to the biography.
One of his first acts as a community organizer, at the age of 13, was going door-to-door with a petition to protest living conditions within his apartment building on Prospect Park Southwest.
Odendhal has volunteered his time for several organizations, including Local 6 of the AFL-CIO, the Mayor’s Task Force on HIV/AIDS, the Native American Youth Council, the Native American Leadership Council on HIV/AIDS, the Kindness and Justice Challenge, the Amadou Diallou Justice Drive, the Occupy Wall Street movement and the People’s Climate March.
He is a former board member of United Puerto Ricans of Sunset Park (UPROSE) and project director for the Non-Violence Project.
Odendhal also vowed to work on other issues, including voter enfranchisement, increased funding for CUNY, criminal justice reform and fighting political corruption.
The primary will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 13.
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