Low income communities of color in Brooklyn are facing a major affordable housing crisis. The 40th council district is no exception, and we are in need of progressive intervention more than ever. Volumes of low and middle-income families are losing their homes due to rising rents and corporate greed. Our elected representatives pay nothing but lip service as they collect thousands of dollars in donations from private real estate, development and construction interests.
To make matters more alarming, wages are stagnating while housing prices soar. For many, this is a matter of survival. It's time we challenge the powers that be, declare that housing is a human right, and fight for just policies that put working class families first, not last.
Our campaign agenda seeks to:
Strengthen rent regulation laws, putting the rights of the tenants first.
Make affordable housing affordable and permanent, confronting special interests. Only 15% of 20,000 affordable housing units created by the mayor in 2014 are permanently affordable.
- Invest more money and time into alternative solutions like Community Land Trusts that put people over profit, create more stability, and actively address the root causes of the housing crisis.
- Partner with community organizations that are organizing tenants and fighting for affordable housing solutions.
We must make 'affordable housing' live up to its name and demand housing as a human right.
1. Repeal the Urstadt law. Repeal this outdated (1971) law which gives Albany too much power and exacerbates the housing crisis through widespread rent deregulation and catering to special interests instead of tenants. Repealing the law would be a significant advance in stopping the loss of rent-regulated units (roughly 400,000 lost in the last decade).
2. Ensure that any development receiving government subsidies for affordable housing remains permanently affordable and prioritizes low-income and working class families.
3. Hold the richest in the city accountable. Income inequality continues to increase while working families struggle to pay rent and survive. Whether it is through the “mansion tax” or the “millionaire tax,” the wealthy must be accountable for paying their fair share and reinvesting that money into affordable housing and the people.
4. Give preference to non-profit developers to build affordable and low income housing. We need to invest in alternative models like Community Land Trusts that put our community and tenants first, not last.
5. Passing housing legislation that is mindful of increases and changes in population and demographics.
6. Develop more rent-to-own programs. Residents need more resources to help them become homeowners. The people who live here should have more of a stake in their community and be treated with respect.
Fighting Back Against Exploitive Landlords.
Thanks to our Public Advocate, Letitia James, we know that the 40th council district in New York City has 5 properties totaling well over 1,000 violations and owned by one of the worst landlords in the city. We must:
Follow in the Public Advocate’s footsteps and promote legislation such as her proposed bill to crack down on slumlords and prevent them from being able to get building permits.
Strengthen the penalties for repeat offenders and prohibit them from bidding on city contracts.
Put forward legislation that gives landlords a 30-day deadline to cash or deposit received rent checks.
Hold free multi-language information sessions in the community to provide tips on how to avoid falling into housing scams.
Make funds available to organizations that provide legal protection to victims of housing discrimination, due to bias against race, color, national origin, disability, sex, gender, disability or religious beliefs.