Making Housing Affordable
& Keeping Tenants in Their Homes
Rents continue to rise while wages remain stagnant and affordable housing does not reach residents and families most in need. I have secured and supported hundreds of low income, supportive and senior housing units for families, invested over $10M in funding for NYCHA residents including enhanced lighting, security cameras, playground renovations and modernized elevators. As the prime sponsor of the Right to Counsel Law passed in 2017, I will continue to advocate for legal representation for tenants facing evictions and policies that protect tenants and families.
Investing in NYCHA
NYCHA is the largest public housing authority in America. Here in the Bronx, we have 75 developments that provide housing for close to 100,000 residents. It is important that NYCHA is held accountable to provide affordable and safe housing. Unfortunately, as a result of serious federal disinvestment, the quality of life has decreased for many residents and families. Tenants face mold, rat infestation, leaks, malfunctioning elevators, poor lighting, a lack of security, lead paint and asbestos. NYCHA has been and continues to be the worst landlord in NYC. This is unacceptable and must change.
I'll fight to ensure NYCHA gets the funding it needs to make crucial infrastructure improvements to facilities, and make sure that money is spent appropriately and not squandered. I will work closely with our Residents Associations and Tenant Leaders on their priorities to improve the conditions of public housing and work to strengthen and uplift the quality of life of all residents and families.
Keeping Renters in their Homes
Since 2017, NYC has invested $100 million in legal services to residents and families in New York City. On average, the Bronx has faced 11,000 evictions each year and we know many of these evictions are preventable and prevalent in low-income communities of color.
This is unacceptable and has led to massive displacement in our Borough.
New York City was the first and largest municipality to achieve Right to Counsel in eviction cases and I am proud to have been a prime sponsor of this important legislation chaptered in 2017 after three years of advocating and building broad support. Access to housing is a fundamental right, and no tenant should be evicted because they have fallen behind in rent or fallen victim to unscrupulous landlords.
As Council Member, I am a prime sponsor for legislation to expand this law to all tenants, at a time when many residents have lost their income and fallen behind on rent. Right to Counsel levels the playing field and balances the scales of justice for tenants who often face evictions alone with no legal representation. The journey of achieving Right to Counsel led to the creation of the Right to Counsel Coalition, which consists of over 80 community partners and organizations who started a movement that has now seen similar legislation passed in Boulder, Cleveland, Newark, Philadelphia, San Francisco and most recently, Baltimore.
As Borough President, I will continue to fight for legislation that protects tenants and keeps them in their homes so they do not face displacement and landlord harassment.
Creating Home Ownership Opportunities
Making investments in Community Land Trusts (CLT’s) allows a unique path to create homeownership opportunities and build economic power and wealth in our communities. Community organizations such as the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition have led the way in the Bronx on developing CLT’s and I will continue to work with all stakeholders to expand these opportunities across the Bronx.
Building Affordable Housing
Too many of our families spend more than 30% of their income towards rent and we must create new approaches and opportunities to stabilize housing and provide greater protections for residents in low-income and fixed-income households.
I will work with the new federal administration and HUD officials to recognize the real cost of living adjustments, AMI changes that reflect the reality of living in the Bronx and New York City and new rental subsidies that will serve to protect tenants and families.
I will also work with our partners in government to facilitate new construction that prioritizes our veterans, seniors, youth aging out of foster care, grandparents raising their grandchildren and LGBTQ residents. Every member of our community deserves affordable housing where they can call home.