Lena Afridi
Director of Economic Development Policy



212-747-1117, ext. 12

Lena Afridi is the Director of Economic Development Policy. Born in Karachi and raised in Queens, Lena is committed to vibrant communities, good jobs, and safe and affordable housing for low and moderate income communities of color and immigrant communities. At ANHD, Lena helps implement policies that address economic and racial inequality in New York City through research, data analysis, and advocacy. Lena has worked across movements for over a decade, and connects issues of race, labor, and city planning. She was a 2016 Urban Design Forum Forefront Fellow and a 2017 Next City Vanguard Fellow. Lena holds a BA from Mount Holyoke College and a Master of Regional Planning Degree from Cornell University. In her spare time, Lena can be found writing or powerlifting.

Lena's Blogs

September 13, 2017
The recently reported business idea for Bodega (hereafter referred to as Brodega), a glorified vending machine aiming to replace the venerable New York institution, is not a bodega at all; it’s an engine for displacing hardworking business owners.
July 17, 2017
Another of New York’s beloved eating establishments has closed down. Cup and Saucer, a staple on the Lower East Side for thirty years, was forced to shutter its gates for the last time as a result of a massive $7,600 monthly increase in rent*.
February 2, 2017
United for Small Business NYC (USBNYC), a coalition convened by ANHD, supports Muslim bodega and grocery owners striking today in response to the "Muslim ban" executive order. USBNYC includes community organizations from across New York City fighting to protect New York’s small businesses and non-residential tenants from the threat of displacement, with a particular focus on owner-operated, low-income, minority and immigrant-run businesses that serve low-income, immigrant, and minority communities.
November 2, 2016
After 30 years of waiting, many of New York City’s street vendors may finally be able to operate legally. United for Small Business NYC (USBnyc), a working group convened by ANHD, supports lifting the caps on permits for street vendors. Permits for street vendors have been capped at 3,000 since the early 1980s, frozen since the Koch Administration.
September 26, 2016
Today commercial tenants experiencing harassment are able to take legal action for the first time, thanks to a new law authored by Councilmember Robert Cornegy. This legislation, supported by ANHD and the United for Small Businesses NYC coalition, is the first step in a long road to creating real, meaningful commercial tenant protections and just part of a much needed, broader toolkit of small business supports.