Nearly one thousand New Yorkers gathered near City Hall on Tuesday morning to protest Mayor de Blasio's controversial affordable housing plan. Low-income tenants from across the city spoke out against the plan's legal cornerstones, Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) and Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA), which would require developers building in certain areas to set aside at least a quarter of new apartments at below-market rates, and allow developers to build taller if they include senior housing, among other things. The housing that gets built as a result, activists argued, would be out of reach for the lowest-income New Yorkers, and they say the plan as written is a giveaway for developers.

The protest, which drew a crowd despite cold rain, was organized by Real Affordability For All, a coalition of tenant organizations, unions, and other advocacy groups. Lourdes De la Cruz, a South Bronx resident, summed up the situation by saying, "It's not an inclusive plan. At CASA we say it's a mandatory exclusionary plan."

Currently, the MIH piece of de Blasio's plan calls for at least one of the following requirements to be met in designated areas:

25 percent of apartments set aside for residents with incomes averaging 60 percent area median income ($46,620 per year for a family of three), or 30 percent for those making 80 percent of area median income ($62,150). A third option would allow 30 percent of the units to be reserved for those making 120 percent of the area median income, or $93,225, but would only be available outside central parts of Manhattan.

New York's area median income is $77,688 for a family of three, a figure far above the city's median income of $58,000 because federal housing standards require factoring in incomes from the surrounding suburbs.

One hotly contested area proposed for up-zoning is East New York, where the median income is $32,000.

Maria Cortez, a longtime resident of nearby Bushwick, said, "$46,000 annually is not low-income for poor people."

ZQA would give developers in areas served by public transit the option of leaving out parking space if they include below-market units and senior housing, and to build up to 40 feet higher for senior housing or affordable housing that meets certain thresholds.

One tenant organizer said that for any plan to proceed, it has to do a lot more for poor people.

"We believe there should be an appropriate number of units for all of the different levels of income," Crown Heights Tenant Union organizer Esteban Girón said. Girón added that the group is "not quite saying no to De Blasio's plan, period, but no until you fix it, and until then, no rezoning."

Unions, for their part, want the city to include local hiring and prevailing wage requirements in any housing plan, delivering jobs to their members.

"This plan is going to develop into a situation where the only real winners will be the affordable housing developers." said Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council. "It won't be hardworking men and women, it won't be people in need of real affordable housing. It'll be rich developers getting richer."

Attendees said they're willing to get arrested if the Council doesn't stop the plan as it's currently written and come up with something geared toward actual low-income New Yorkers.

"I cannot afford to be pushed out again," said Rachel Rivera, a single mother of six children and member of New York Communities for Change. "The homeless system is overcrowded. I will be split up from my six kids, and it's not fair. If the mayor does not change his plan to make it really affordable, I will be doing civil disobedience with my kids. We will be getting arrested, all of us."

The plan has also met opposition from 50 of 59 community boards, four of the five borough presidents, and many other prominent civic groups. Addressing the boards' overwhelming rejection, de Blasio has said he takes their opinions into account, but that they "don't have a perfect vantage point on their communities." Speaking to a letter from clergy members opposing the plan, he said, "People are going to have their viewpoints."

The Council is expected to vote on the plan's provisions in March.