Member, Village of Sunset Park
Community Involvement: Christopher Robles has been involved with community service for his entire adult life. An attorney for 16 years focused on public interest and a lifelong Brooklyn resident, Robles has been a strong voice in the battle against the development at the Sunset Park library. As an attorney his office motto is, “Anyone who comes in, we try to help.”
Homelessness, environmental protection, public safety, education and rent protection are the issues Robles is most passionate about. He is one of the attorneys bringing a lawsuit against the city and the Department of Sanitation trying to prevent the opening of a waste transfer station on Gravesend Bay, on the site of an old incinerator, in part because of concerns that the project will unearth toxic chemicals long buried at the bottom of the bay.
As a community activist, Robles speaks out against the overcrowding of schools, especially in southwest Brooklyn (Bay Ridge and Sunset Park), located in a school district that by Department of Education statistics is among the most overcrowded in the city. As a parent of two in the public school system, Robleswants to reach the community on a grass roots level in order to get the city to build more schools.
Motivation/Personal Life: Robles’ motivation comes from his own background and upbringing. He was brought up in a low-income household, raised solely by his mother. He and his siblings went to public school. He graduated from John Dewey High School, went to St. John’s University and eventually to CUNY Law School, which is geared towards public interest which is what he always wanted to do. Coming from an immigrant family, Robles has an understanding of what others go through.
Career: Robles has always wanted to open his own law office and help people. His goal is to make sure to provide legal services to residents who don’t understand the legal system, are worried about their immigration status or can’t afford representation. Many of his clients don’t speak English and he is able to communicate with those who speak Spanish and Chinese.
Biggest Challenges: Robles’s biggest challenge is dealing with clients having to navigate the legal system, as well as his advocacy for affordable housing and schools. “It’s hard to navigate the bureaucracy to fight for these things,” he admits.
On top of that is his effort to help the homeless. He said that, after the de Blasio administration started converting hotels into homeless shelters, there was no outreach to the homeless community to let them know about the shelters. For Robles, the problem is that more people don’t benefit; he also contends that low-income housing regulations need strengthening to prevent homelessness.
Biggest Achievements: Robles says that his greatest achievements are his family, being married, and his two awesome girls. To Robles, family is the most important thing.