New York City has experienced historic rent increases in the last few decades. "Today we see landlords getting larger rental increases, a loss of rent-stabilized apartments, and low-income tenants struggling to stay in New York” said Rent Guidelines Board member and housing advocate Harvey Epstein. Nationally, the Trump administration has threatened to cut over 6 billion dollars in federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, placing over 200,000 families and seniors at risk of immediate displacement. In New York, these cuts would slash $75 million dollars from NYCHA’s 2018 budget, increasing rents while reducing much needed repairs. It is the obligation of our City and State to protect communities and individuals against displacement. Housing is a right — and it is one that I will fight for as your Council Member.
My plan for affordable housing highlights ideas to preserve homes for New Yorkers, including the creation of a citywide Community Land Trust (CLT). CLT’s create permanent affordable housing through land use restrictions and empower communities to have more control of the land. For example, a board of directors from the community could determine how properties are managed or resold. The City has begun exploring how to advance this model, and members of our community are excited to support this work. However, there is a lot of work ahead of us to bring a successful CLT to New York City. I am ready to advocate for its success.
As we think about stabilizing communities, it’s important we adapt to face new threats, like home-sharing. The State’s new law aims to ensure that long term rental units remain available to residents of New York City and that existing rental units are not converted into illegal hotels. It also guarantees that residents living in multi-family properties can count on living next to neighbors they know and trust. More than 5,000 homes across the City have been illegally sublet, removing long-term housing from the market and altering the stability of existing communities. We must protect communities from unsafe and illegal hotels. I will hold home-sharing services accountable by supporting the Office of Special Enforcement as they penalize those who advertise illegal short-term rentals.
Good policy means elevating bold new ideas and promoting existing solutions that work. I will ensure that more individuals have access to information about existing programs designed to protect the most vulnerable. For example, seniors and individuals living with disabilities need to know that they can take advantage of the legal exemptions related to rent increases (also known as SCRIE and DRIE). I will also promote the City’s LINC voucher program that subsidizes rents for low-income families and single adults living in homeless or domestic violence shelters. In the wake of rising homelessness in the City, it is essential that we prioritize affordable housing as a tool for prevention.
We're lucky to call the world's greatest city our home, but there is always more we can do to take care of our neighbors. As your Council Member, I look forward to crafting solutions that promote affordable housing as a pathway for a safe, welcoming, and diverse City.