Emily Sharpe

Emily Sharpe

https://www.emilyforcitycouncil.com/

Twitter: @sunnysideyards 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)

I founded the group Stop Sunnyside Yards to stop displacement from overdevelopment and gentrification. I use my platform as an organizer and city council candidate to amplify NYCHA residents’ fight against RAD/Blueprint privatization. I’m leading a fight against a rezoning by NYC’s 11th Worst Evictor Landlords through research, op-ed, petition and other activities. I’ve volunteered at housing court for NYS Courts Volunteer Lawyer for the Day Program and for housing attorneys at Legal Aid.

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 cost of rent, and the number of people without homes. Since the housing market has become commodified so that most new buildings are built for investment purposes and tend to displace current residents (because they are not truly affordable), I would place a moratorium on luxury buildings and on rezonings that would likely make rents increase in a neighborhood. I would also repeal MIH which has contributed greatly to the housing crisis. I would subsidize housing to make it affordable and push to claw-back rent stabilized units that have been lost over the last 20 years. I would also push for rent caps on all residential units. I would convert empty offices and hotels to apartments for people without homes and buy or have the state use eminent domain to take control of the empty residential buildings that are causing blight in our city.

9. Do you believe that housing should be de-commodified?  The cost of rent, and the number of people without homes. Since the housing market has become commodified so that most new buildings are built for investment purposes and tend to displace current residents (because they are not truly affordable), I would place a moratorium on luxury buildings and on rezonings that would likely make rents increase in a neighborhood. I would also repeal MIH which has contributed greatly to the housing crisis. I would subsidize housing to make it affordable and push to claw-back rent stabilized units that have been lost over the last 20 years. I would also push for rent caps on all residential units. I would convert empty offices and hotels to apartments for people without homes and buy or have the state use eminent domain to take control of the empty residential buildings that are causing blight in our city.

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?

First, keep NYCHA public. On the city level, reallocate the $22 billion and $11 billion that was meant to fund the Sunnyside Yards development project and four new tower jails, respectively. We can also claw-back the billions spent on Hudson Yards that was meant for NYCHA, and have Battery Park City Authority (re)commit its revenue stream to low-income housing, like NYCHA, which they have neglected to do throughout the years. We can also pressure our federal legislators to fully fund NYCHA.

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)

First, there would have to be a need for a rezoning. Vacant units in empty buildings would need to be filled up first. Next, rents in new units would have to be much lower and rolled back to what they would have been had rent stabilized units not been lost to deregulation by the real estate industry (e.g., $800-$1,000 for studio; $1,200-$1,400 for 1 bedroom, etc.).

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

I would propose that rezonings be community-driven, not developer-driven, and more transparent and inclusive. For instance, rezonings could take place twice a year with notices mailed to everyone describing the desired changes. Multiple town halls could be held to discuss proposals openly and respectfully (with more than 2 minutes allocated to each person). Also, there should be no hard-and-fast deadline for approving a project and if there is not widespread agreement, it should not go forward.

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 30% Percentage of Unhoused New Yorkers  70%

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

Sunnyside Yards development project similar to Hudson Yards, but 7 times larger, in my neighborhood. I formed a coalition of neighbors and started the activist group Stop Sunnyside Yards in order to fight against this giveaway to the rich which would have caused gentrification and displacement of long-time residents and small businesses among other atrocities.

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 support the DOB’s new rule to deny new building permits to landlords who commit numerous hazardous violations in existing buildings. I would strengthen this, however, to make it easier for tenants – currently in large buildings, each unit must log 2 or more violations which is too many. Many tenants will not call at all for fear of retribution and some new units probably won’t have any violations for years. I would also disallow new rezonings if there is a history of tenant abuse.

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)

Building homeless shelters is a reflection of bad housing policy. All people deserve homes and we have plenty of empty units to house everyone, including converting hotels and offices. I would focus on permanently housing all. However, if a shelter was needed in my district to temporary house people, I would not oppose it. I will be looking to move away from that model as there should be no reason to build homeless shelters, just as there is no reason to build four new tower jails.

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

32a. If no, why not?

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 change the make-up of the Board. At least 5 out of 9 should be renters so that they are able to overrule interests not aligned with the needs of actual renters. I would pressure the mayor and not approve his budget until he makes this change.

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? Yes