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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 a member of Jahajee Sisters, we advocate for transitional housing for survivors. Our taxi medallion crisis in the city has impacted the income of working-class families and therefore has jeopardized their housing. My work during the pandemic was doing COVID outreach at Redfern NYCHA complex This has a direct correlation with housing justice because it was done in the protection of the people and their whole being in how we live and lead a dignified life.
3. What type of housing do you currently live in?
Own a co-op, condo or private home
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 issue is to ensure that everyone in our city has just, affordable housing. In order to do this, we must keep NYCHA public, increase funding for rental assistance programs, and expand Community Board involvement and oversight and include an environmental review process for land use. Another issue is the legalization of basement apartments. Many of our community members would be supported with the legalization of basement apartments in NYC. I support the Basement Apartments Safe for Everyone (BASE) campaign created by Chhaya CDC. This advocates for the creation of a program that would establish funding for a citywide program, update zoning and building codes, simplify the participant experience, and make it affordable. Finally, the foreclosure rates in District 32 are also higher than the average for Queens. One solution the city could enact for homeowners facing foreclosure is abolishing the tax lien sale.
9. Do you believe that housing should be de-commodified? The most pressing issue is to ensure that everyone in our city has just, affordable housing. In order to do this, we must keep NYCHA public, increase funding for rental assistance programs, and expand Community Board involvement and oversight and include an environmental review process for land use. Another issue is the legalization of basement apartments. Many of our community members would be supported with the legalization of basement apartments in NYC. I support the Basement Apartments Safe for Everyone (BASE) campaign created by Chhaya CDC. This advocates for the creation of a program that would establish funding for a citywide program, update zoning and building codes, simplify the participant experience, and make it affordable. Finally, the foreclosure rates in District 32 are also higher than the average for Queens. One solution the city could enact for homeowners facing foreclosure is abolishing the tax lien sale.
9a. What would you do as an elected representative to move that vision forward? (500 characters)
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 needs to remain public housing. We need to rally behind the People’s Budget for Housing, Justice, and Dignity because it is about real tax legislation that would guarantee funding. With the People’s Budget, there would not be a need for RAD and the privatization of NYCHA. RAD would raise the rent for families in NYCHA and leave tenants settling to live in unlivable conditions. With RAD, the Mayor will put 62,000 apartments into the hands of private landlords.
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)
Preserves affordable housing in the community that rezoning is being planned in. Keeps community rent affordable, tenants are not being priced/forced out. Prepare impact, traffic, environmental studies. Identify all traffic, transportation, electrical, sanitary, water, and education challenges. Deals with developers must have clear boundaries and full transparency – available for review by the community. Community task force where rezoning is being planned.
20. What reforms to zoning would you propose to increase community input into development? (500 characters)
Community-led planning should be at the forefront of land-use. This will tap the knowledge and concerns of local residents, business owners, and other stakeholders to create a diverse and representative community coalition. Accessibility of meetings should be assessed. The City should provide outreach ensuring people involved are reasonably representative of the community the development is being planned in.
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)
Our district has not had a land use fight, but we do have important rezoning that occurs because we’re a coastal district. Most recently, community board 10 was able to push for a rezoning of a part of our community impacted by high tides. The rezoning would prevent flooding and restrict all homeless shelters and group or nursing homes in the neighborhood. This was deeply controversial because our unhoused population need housing but should also not be more vulnerable because of flooding.
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)
The city could expand the Certificate of No Harassment (CONH) pilot program to ensure that landlords are not utilizing construction as a means to harass tenants. By having large landlords apply for a CONH before beginning construction, there would be more oversight on landlord harassment. I would also voice my support for tenants unions, especially in buildings owned by large landlord companies.
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)
While I believe that housing is a human right and that everyone deserves a safe, dignified, permanent home, it is a reality that there are thousands of New Yorkers without shelter today, and they need and deserve a roof over their head in their own communities. We must plan for the long term to provide stable, affordable, and permanent housing for all New Yorkers, and in the interim we must ensure that everyone has shelter in the immediate.
32. Do you agree that all evictions are bad? Yes
32a. If no, why not? n/a
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)
67% of New Yorkers rent, and yet, the Rent Guidelines Board is made up of 9 members, and only 2 are appointed to represent the interests of tenants. I would advocate that the majority of the city’s residents are more represented in the RGB, in order for decisions on lower rents to be voted on in favor of the majority of the city, rather than the interests of landlords.
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