Angela Fernandez

Angela Fernandez

www.angelafernandez.nyc

Twitter: fernandezmdla Instagram: uptown_for_angela

Do you believe housing is a human right? Yes

What type of action have you taken in the past around issues of housing justice? (500 characters)

As the NYS Commissioner for the Division of Human Rights, I have investigated and prosecuted a vast variety of cases of housing discrimination, including source of income discrimination. As Commissioner, I mended the relationship between HUD and NYS Division of Human Rights securing millions of dollars in funding. During my tenure, we awarded 25% more monetary awards than prior years. As a resident, I have stood in opposition to the Inwood Rezoning and submitted testimony to RGB.

3. What type of housing do you currently live in?              

Regulated Rental Apt

4. Are you, or have you ever been, a landlord? No

4a. If yes, where & how many apts. did you own?

5. Does your campaign accept contributions from real estate developers (including related individuals), corporate lobbyists, organizations that participate in the carceral system, and/or landlords? No

6. Have you ever worked in, or had another affiliation with, the Real Estate industry?  No

7. Have any of your campaign or advisory staff held a position as a corporate lobbyist or an executive role with the Real Estate industry? No

6. & 7. If so, how can we be assured you will have tenants’ interests in mind?  (250 characters)

8. What do you think are the most pressing Housing issues & what action would you take to address them as a City Council Member?  (1000 characters)

The most pressing housing concerns at this time are impending evictions across our city due to COVID-19, safe and affordable housing, ending speculative warehousing of empty apartmenst, protecting tenants from discrimination, supporting community land trusts, and ensuring any future rezonings are led by community residents and account for racial and environmental justice. I strongly support the Housing Justice For All platform for a New York Homes Guarantee. Many of the steps identified require action from the State of New York, so I plan to work closely with my colleagues in Albany to ensure that the State legislature takes action. However, one concrete policy I would pursue within the City is upzoning wealthier areas (rather than low-income areas) to encourage and create deeply affordable housing development in those areas.

As a City Council member, I plan to practice co-governance, meaning that I will strategize and implement decision making with community residents.

9. Do you believe that housing should be de-commodified?  The most pressing housing concerns at this time are impending evictions across our city due to COVID-19, safe and affordable housing, ending speculative warehousing of empty apartmenst, protecting tenants from discrimination, supporting community land trusts, and ensuring any future rezonings are led by community residents and account for racial and environmental justice. I strongly support the Housing Justice For All platform for a New York Homes Guarantee. Many of the steps identified require action from the State of New York, so I plan to work closely with my colleagues in Albany to ensure that the State legislature takes action. However, one concrete policy I would pursue within the City is upzoning wealthier areas (rather than low-income areas) to encourage and create deeply affordable housing development in those areas.

As a City Council member, I plan to practice co-governance, meaning that I will strategize and implement decision making with community residents.

9a. What would you do as an elected representative to move that vision forward? (500 characters)

Yes

10. Do you support the move to legalize basement apts?  Yes

11. Do you support the concept of rent regulation and eviction protections? Yes

12. Do you believe in publicly owned and controlled housing? Yes

13. NYCHA has suffered from chronic underfunding, neglect and disrepair. What do you see as the best strategies to rectify these problems?

Residents and employees need to be at the center of creating this new vision for the future of NYCHA. If properly funded and supported, NYCHA could be an asset for the city and a model of restorative justice for the nation. We should repeal 421-a and direct the increased tax revenue to permanently affordable housing, cooperatively owned housing and land, and—importantly—NYCHA. I support the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act to ensure adequate federal funding for public housing authorities.

14. Do you support the NYCHA 2.0 Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD)/ PACT program and other privatization schemes? No

15. Would you support an immediate moratorium on the sale or lease of all City-owned land and air rights to for-profit developers? Yes

16. Would you require that any housing built on public land be 100% permanently affordable to low- and extremely-low income New Yorkers? Yes

17. Would you aggressively use City programs and eminent domain to take ownership of distressed properties and transfer them to community control such as Community Land Trusts?      Yes

18. Would you end the custom of deferring to local council members on land use decisions? Yes

19. What standards would a rezoning need to meet for you to support it? (500 characters)

It must be initiated, led and supported by community members. A racial impact study should be required.

20. What reforms to zoning would you propose to increase community input into development?  (500 characters)

First, we must clearly outline the role of EDC and prevent them from lobbying City Council for ULURP approval. Second, would be to strengthen Section 197-a, a City Charter provision that allows community boards (among other bodies) to submit development plans but does not have real enforceability right now and is very underutilized. Lastly, Community Benefits Agreements increase opportunities for community groups and residents to leverage and negotiate demands with developers.

21. Would you pass and enforce a true racial impact study as part of any rezoning?  Yes

Percentage of people who are below 200% of the poverty line 60% Percentage of Unhoused New Yorkers  40%

23. What is/has been the most important land use fight in your district and what position did you take on it?  (500 characters)

As the ED of NMCIR during the Inwood Rezoning, I was publicly against the rezoning. Many residents face the threat of being “doubly displaced,” having been forced out of their countries of origin and now being priced out of their neighborhood. We must continue to fight rezonings that threaten to displace communities of color across, and we must secure deeply and truly affordable housing instead.

24. Would you support increased funding and oversight of NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and Mayor’s Tenant Protection Unit to educate tenants on their rights to organize in NYC rental buildings? YesYes

25. Will you support the City seeking injunctions against the landlords on the Right to Counsel’s “worst evictors list,” barring worst evictors from bringing eviction cases while under investigation, and implementing good cause evictions protections? Yes

26. Do you support expanding funding and oversight of the City’s emergency repair program to correct hazardous violations and send the owner the bill? Yes

27. How would you use your office to put pressure on landlords to make repairs and stop harassing tenants?  (500 characters)

I would like to more robustly fund the NYC Commission on Human Rights and the NYCs Tenant Protection Unit to better protect tenants from harassment and displacement.  I would also look to use the power of eminent domain to take over buildings of landlords with repeated violations in order to convert to City-owned, deeply affordable housing. Furthermore, we need to use the power of the bully pulpit to improve oversight over city agencies responsible for safe and dignified housing.

28. Do you support the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA—Int 0737-2018) and Commercial Rent Stabilization bill (Int 1796-2019) currently in committee in the City Council?Yes

29. Do you support converting hotel rooms into permanently affordable apts? Yes

30. Would you end the practice of police responding to people who are homeless?  Yes

31. Would you oppose homeless shelters being built in your district? No

31a. Why or why not?  (500 characters)

In the wealthiest city in the wealthiest country on Earth, no person should be homeless, and we should be investing in the root causes of homeless including unaffordable housing, housing and job discrimination, and lack of access to mental health services. I will aggressively move to invest in these fundamental rights so that we do not need to build more homeless shelters.

32. Do you agree that all evictions are bad? Yes

32a. If no, why not? Yes. All people have a right to housing whether or not someone can afford it. It is our city’s responsibility to ensure that all people are safely housed.

33. Are you committed to making sure every tenant has free access to counsel in Housing Court? Yes

34. Would you support an eviction moratorium every winter (Heat Season Oct. 1-May 31)?  Yes

35. Do you believe that the Rent Guidelines Board should lower rents for rent stabilized tenants? Yes

35a. If yes, what will you do to influence the board to do so?  (500 characters)
Yes, we need to restore the thousands of rent stabilized units we have lost and expand universal rent control. I also support the Lower NYC Rent legislation proposed by City Council candidate Lincoln Restler. This would require landlords to lower rents after apartments have been vacant for 3 months. I would additionally consider expanding this to rent stabilized units.

36. Have you ever testified on behalf of tenants at a public hearing of the RGB? Yes

37. Do you support restricting the ability of landlords to discriminate and surveil tenants through the use of technologies such as key fobs, smartphone apps, and facial recognition to gain entry into their apartment units and/or buildings? Yes

38. Will you commit to only vote for a budget that decreases funding to the NYPD? Yes