The Beaata Le Mariam Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the last remaining Ethiopian Othodox institution in Harlem, is being evicted from its storefront home.
The building the church occupies was one of four acquired by a community land trust (CLT) from NYC Housing Preservation and Development in late 2020 to create permanently affordable housing in the Harlem community.
The CLT comprises three community housing developers who closed a deal with the city on November 23, 2020 for four properties. Each property sold for $1. 32 apartments will be available to persons at 35% and 100% of area median income (AMI). Four additional apartments will be set aside for persons experiencing homelessness.
While the CLT will bring much needed permanently affordable housing options, Beaata La Mariam’s future is uncertain. Congregants from the Bronx, New Jersey, and Connecticut still attend weekly service at the West 121st Street storefront unit that the church has occupied since 2006. Some even support the mission of the land trust to turn vacant and underutilized buildings into affordable housing.
While the church pursues legal and community based solutions, it has begun packing up and moving their position into a storage locker in the Bronx.
Atsede Elegba via Patch.com