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Everyone deserves safe, affordable, and quality housing.

New York is no longer affordable to the working class. With a market that favors the real estate industry and landlords over everyday people, 4+ million unregulated tenants are facing unconscionable rent increases and harassment. Nearly 100,000 New Yorkers are experiencing homelessness. Our public housing is in disrepair. It is unacceptable. I’ve dealt with housing instability my entire life, so I know how urgent this issue is. Everyone deserves safe, affordable, quality housing. I will fight to make that a reality.

Many politicians serve the real estate industry and stand in the way of meaningful change. My campaign is funded exclusively by grassroots donations. If elected, I promise to do everything I can to keep New Yorkers in their homes and fight for the creation of millions of units of social housing.

Tenant Protections

More than 4 million tenants in New York face unregulated rent increases and landlord harassment. That’s why I’m fighting and will continue fighting to pass Good Cause Eviction, which would give tenants the right to renew their lease, prohibit retaliatory evictions, and limit annual rent increases. Even rent-stabilized tenants can face unexpected rent hikes via Major Capital Improvements (MCIs)– where landlords pass the cost of repairs onto tenants.  Building improvements are a landlord’s responsibility, and maintenance shouldn’t be an excuse for exorbitant rent increases. I support eliminating MCIs to ensure they don’t lead to displacement.

We must also re-invest in NYCHA. Over 10,000 district residents are NYCHA residents. I’ve spoken to my neighbors and I’ve seen NYCHA’s deplorable conditions. Public housing and subsidized housing should not mean poor quality housing. I will continue to organize alongside NYCHA residents to fight for tenant protections. And I will fight to increase taxes on the rich to fully fund NYCHA and long overdue improvements.

Eviction Prevention and Homelessness

There are nearly 100,000 unhoused New Yorkers. With the end of the eviction moratorium another 200,000 are at serious risk of experiencing homelessness. This is a state failure not an individual one. This is why I support the Housing Access Voucher Program, which would provide housing vouchers for those already homeless and those most at risk of becoming homeless. 

As a mental health social worker, I know the importance of supportive housing and we must honor our commitments to supportive housing development. Of 20,000 new supportive housing units committed in 2016, 14,000 units are still not funded. If elected I will push for their completion. Stable housing is key to safe and stable communities. We must ensure everyone is housed, not just given temporary or inadequate shelter.

Developers and Unjust Markets

Every year developers receive billions of dollars in tax breaks. The 421-A tax exemption alone accounts for 1 billion dollars of lost revenue. That money should be going towards housing New Yorkers and funding other public services, not to lining the pockets of the incredibly wealthy. Broad tax subsidies, such as 421-A or its rebranded replacement 485-W, are far less effective than directly subsidized affordable housing projects for those who truly need it—working class and low-income New Yorkers. 

Too many New Yorkers are under constant threat that investors will buy their building and kick them out. I support the Community Protection Act (S5376) which will tax the sale of buildings over $1 million and disincentivize the flipping of properties by taxing buildings that are resold within 2 years of purchase. I will fight to expand cease and desist zones (areas where real estate profiteers are prevented from preying on small, vulnerable homeowners by repeatedly attempting to buy them out).  New Yorkers deserve to stay in our communities; we deserve long term affordable housing.

Long-term Shifts Toward Public Power and Social Housing

Nowhere in America is the housing crisis more deeply felt than right here in New York. I know that real solutions require deep long term investment. The creation of truly affordable and accessible housing for all will require larger systematic changes. I support the de-commodification and social ownership of housing–which would prioritize peoples’ rights to housing over peoples’ rights to accumulate wealth through housing markets. De-commodification will allow for the transfer of urban land wealth from developers and private financial institutions to communities. It will prevent competition between residents for quality affordable housing, and increase community resilience and stability. 

One way to begin this shift is through the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), which gives tenants the right of first refusal when their building goes up for sale. Tenants should not be displaced by changes in ownership or real estate speculation. TOPA would guarantee that when a building goes up for sale, tenants have the opportunity to form a community land trust or tenant union and purchase the building. 

I will fight for the conversion of city owned vacant lots and buildings to community land trusts and tenant-controlled housing shielded from the private market. To ensure these options are truly affordable I will fight for a social housing acquisition fund, and other state funding for these projects. 

We can dream bigger than the affordable housing crisis we are experiencing. And first and foremost I will fight to meet all immediate needs. Everyone deserves safe, affordable, and quality housing. I will fight to make that a reality.