Cyril Joseph

Cyril Joseph

cyrilfjoseph.com

Twitter:  Instagram: instagram.com/cyrilforcouncil

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)

I have advocated on behalf of people in housing courts who were being illegally evicted. I have also acted as a mediator on behalf of tenants in relations with landlords to prevent illegal evictions. As the founder of Togetherness with Love Community Center 501c3, I have also held workshops to educate tenants on their rights.

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)

It’s time to create sustainable housing for all. Even those apartments that the City calls “affordable housing” are no longer affordable for the majority of New Yorkers. The pandemic has worsened this housing crisis, and many of us now struggle to pay our monthly rent.

To protect our human right to housing, I pledge to:

1. Fight for lower rents

2. Provide tax credits to landlords who lower rent for renters

3. Build new housing with sustainable rents for low-income New Yorkers

4. Create an independent review board to oversee our city’s land use; this can stop big real estate developers from getting contracts under the table

5. Offer low-income New Yorkers the opportunity to become homeowners by introducing rent-to-own plans and low-interest-rate mortgages.

6. Advocate for banning evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic

9. Do you believe that housing should be de-commodified?  It’s time to create sustainable housing for all. Even those apartments that the City calls “affordable housing” are no longer affordable for the majority of New Yorkers. The pandemic has worsened this housing crisis, and many of us now struggle to pay our monthly rent.

To protect our human right to housing, I pledge to:

1. Fight for lower rents

2. Provide tax credits to landlords who lower rent for renters

3. Build new housing with sustainable rents for low-income New Yorkers

4. Create an independent review board to oversee our city’s land use; this can stop big real estate developers from getting contracts under the table

5. Offer low-income New Yorkers the opportunity to become homeowners by introducing rent-to-own plans and low-interest-rate mortgages.

6. Advocate for banning evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic

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?

I would advocate for selling NYCHA apartments to current tenants using a rent-to-own process. Letting tenants become homeowners would give them a greater say in the decision making process and ensure better upkeep of the property. By paying a small monthly maintenance fee, the resident-shareholders would help fund maintenance of the apartments. Increasing residents’ democratic control of NYCHA buildings would help to fix the current issues which face NYCHA.

14. Do you support the NYCHA 2.0 Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD)/ PACT program and other privatization schemes? Depends

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)

1. Eliminate high-rise buildings in mixed use or manufacturing zones; 2. Contain housing that is sustainably priced for low-income New Yorkers; 3. Preserve existing green space and prevent it from being privatized or sold to private developers for housing uses.

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

I would host seminars to get community input on rezoning and development processes. I would also create an independent oversight board to oversee the city’s ULURP process and make sure that community interests are represented.

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 50% Percentage of Unhoused New Yorkers  50%

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

Developers wanted to build high-rises that were over the allocated zoning guidelines set by the Community Board’s Housing & Land Use committee. As a member of the Community Board, I advocated on behalf of community residents’ interests and was successful in stopping the developers from building 26 and 30 story units where zoning only allowed for buildings to be 4-5 stories tall. These buildings would not have been affordable to local residents and would have changed the neighborhood’s zoning.

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 mandate that these slumlords reside in the buildings to experience what their tenants are going through for period of 90 days–especially in the cold weather. By mandating that landlords live in dilapidated properties they are renting to others, I would help them see the conditions that they are forcing others to experience.

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)

I believe that we do need more housing that is accessible to New Yorkers who are currently homeless. I would look at where homeless shelters are built within the district. They should be built at a certain proximity from churches, other houses of worship, and schools. For example, to protect children and families, we cannot have a homeless shelter immediately next to a school or church. However, we must ensure that children who are homeless can reach the school easily and safely.

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

32a. If no, why not? All evictions are not bad. People who are struggling with the current unemployment rate and facing hardship in their lives should not be evicted, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. People who simply do not give a damn and do not pay their rent when they the ability to do so should be evicted.

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)
I would influence the board to put a cap on rents. Rents are skyrocketing, and it is time to legislate to lower rents.

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