AriKagan

Ari Kagan

https://www.ariforcouncil.com

Twitter: @AriKagan47 Instagram:

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)

NYCHA does a shameful job in maintaining safe and secure housing for New Yorkers. When USPS parcels stopped being delivered to the residents of the Marlboro Houses, I contacted both NYCHA and USPS to bring attention to this unacceptable behavior. USPS explained their change of delivery was caused by entrance buzzers not working, however after repeatedly calling and pushing the service, USPS agreed to restore previous service. These are the kind of jobs I will continue to do for New York.

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

Unregulated 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 lack of affordable housing is one of the greatest challenges Southern Brooklyn. As City Council Member, I will work to keep our neighbors, friends, and families from being priced out of their homes as well as ensure that new construction projects create more affordable housing units. Beyond this, I will make sure NYCHA housing is held accountable for the utterly shameful conditions they turn a blind-eye to everyday. I will push for the NYCHA Tenants Accountability Act in order to make NYCHA responsible for tenants’ requests and to expedite its slow and unacceptable repair and maintenance work orders. I plan to advocate for the Co-Op Shareholders Bill of Rights, a bill which aims at improving transparency and accountability of co-op boards. Finally, I will ensure Median Income levels for housing developments reach residents and dedicate staff to following up with agencies on housing issues, as well as break down language barriers. All residents deserve safe and secure housing.

9. Do you believe that housing should be de-commodified?  The lack of affordable housing is one of the greatest challenges Southern Brooklyn. As City Council Member, I will work to keep our neighbors, friends, and families from being priced out of their homes as well as ensure that new construction projects create more affordable housing units. Beyond this, I will make sure NYCHA housing is held accountable for the utterly shameful conditions they turn a blind-eye to everyday. I will push for the NYCHA Tenants Accountability Act in order to make NYCHA responsible for tenants’ requests and to expedite its slow and unacceptable repair and maintenance work orders. I plan to advocate for the Co-Op Shareholders Bill of Rights, a bill which aims at improving transparency and accountability of co-op boards. Finally, I will ensure Median Income levels for housing developments reach residents and dedicate staff to following up with agencies on housing issues, as well as break down language barriers. All residents deserve safe and secure housing.

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?

NYCHA clearly needs more attention and funds from the city, state and federal government. Solving the issue of affordable and quality housing in New York becomes much easier once that funding is secured. However, I believe there are ways to hold NYCHA accountable for much of their failures with or without increased funding. We must push for the NYCHA Tenants Accountability Act, an act which would make NYCHA more responsible for tenants’ requests regarding housing issues.

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? No

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

One of my main issue points is expanding the number of affordable housing units available in Southern Brooklyn. For a rezoning to garner my support, I would need the entire process to 1) prioritize the expansion of affordable housing, and 2) be extremely transparent with the public. Just late last year, the Brooklyn Democrats condemned the Industry City Rezoning because of the lack of transparency within the plan. I want to make sure my residents are getting the best deal possible.

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

One action I would push for as City Council Member is the Co-Op Shareholders Bill of Rights, a bill which aims at improving transparency and accountability for co-op boards. I believe the entire housing and rezoning processes, whether they involve co-ops and shareholders or private agencies and the public, need to be made more transparent. People need to be able to know and understand how certain moves will impact their situation.

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 10% Percentage of Unhoused New Yorkers  10%

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

A land use fight I have seen unfold in my district occurred in Sheepshead Bay. In 2016, a street called “Sheepshead Bay Road” was empty as landlords along the section intentionally kept storefronts empty while waiting for big-name retailers to show up. Locals loved the road as it was known for its mom-and-pop shops. However, after Hurricane Sandy, landlords were only interested in maximum profitability. Locals wanted the street they once knew, but that reality was no longer available.

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)

We must hold NYCHA and landlords alike responsible for failing to respond to maintenance and repair issues sent in by their residents. New York housing is incredibly problematic as New Yorkers face issues from lack of affordable housing to not being able to find good, quality housing in their price range. As City Council Member, I would advocate for rules and regulations to be put into place which aim at holding those in charge responsible.

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)

Homelessness is a big and serious problem in NYC. We need more affordable housing and more transparency within that housing. I want to get people off the streets and out of parks where residents want to go to play, read a book, or relax in the sun. In order to move the homeless population from those places, we must provide them other places to go.

32. Do you agree that all evictions are bad? No

32a. If no, why not? If a resident is failing to keep up with residents despite fair and timely notice, I don’t believe evictions are bad. That being said, the current time is an unprecedented one indeed. Most people struggling to meet their payments have fallen victim to the pandemic. As such, those who are struggling right now should be helped with things such as rent forgiveness or unemployment benefits due to COVID-19. People need a shoulder to lean on at the moment, and I intend to provide them that security.

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)
During this unprecedented time we should be lowering rents, even for those with stabilized rates. Many people have lost their jobs and as a result are struggling to obtain a stable source of income. As such, as City Council Member, I will advocate for legislation which aims at giving those tenants a break from these incredibly difficult times. It will be a long time until New York

36. Have you ever testified on behalf of tenants at a public hearing of the RGB? No

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? No