Twitter: @galebrewerNYC Instagram: N/A
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)
Regarding r/s & r/c, I testified at RGB (20 yrs) for 0% increase. I moved Boro President’s Harlem office to a storefront for constituents; we fight for tenants in private/public hsing. I fund supportive hsing operated by nonprofits, even when opposition. I beat the City in court when developers built on NYCHA land. I funded TIL to HDFC with residents leading. I see 421(a) force long time tenants to move when the subsidy ends; I would eliminate 421(a) unless it provides permanent affordability
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? Yes
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 supply of affordable housing in NYC, particularly for households at the lowest income levels, did not meet the demand even prior to COVID-19. For every 100 units of affordable housing added to rental market in 2018, only 7 were affordable to extremely low-income households. The Council must ensure that those with incomes at 30% AMI get much more than 7% of the available rental units. -Housing vouchers must be funded to address market rents. -End warehousing of apartments. Council can mandate registration of units. -All housing built on city-owned land must by 100% affordable, & target city-owned property for land trust ownership. -NYCHA needs $40 billion for repairs; tenants must be involved. -The Council should make resources available to invest in purchase & conversion of distressed hotels into permanent affordable housing. -Finance multifamily homeownership projects that are affordable in perpetuity for low-income. -Use zoning to mandate 100% affordability in new development.
9. Do you believe that housing should be de-commodified? -The supply of affordable housing in NYC, particularly for households at the lowest income levels, did not meet the demand even prior to COVID-19. For every 100 units of affordable housing added to rental market in 2018, only 7 were affordable to extremely low-income households. The Council must ensure that those with incomes at 30% AMI get much more than 7% of the available rental units. -Housing vouchers must be funded to address market rents. -End warehousing of apartments. Council can mandate registration of units. -All housing built on city-owned land must by 100% affordable, & target city-owned property for land trust ownership. -NYCHA needs $40 billion for repairs; tenants must be involved. -The Council should make resources available to invest in purchase & conversion of distressed hotels into permanent affordable housing. -Finance multifamily homeownership projects that are affordable in perpetuity for low-income. -Use zoning to mandate 100% affordability in new development.
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?
I have helped tens of thousands of NYCHA tenants get repairs, become leaders in the development and on the community board, and support each other via voter registration, rallies, hearings, and advocacy. All plans for NYCHA must be tenant led. For 2 years, I have participated in weekly meetings to decide what is repaired, built and for whom at Fulton and Chelsea-Elliott Houses. With CB, Legal Aid, electeds, NYCHA and tenant participation, this process worked. Any strategy must have this input.
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)
As Manhattan Borough President, I have completed 171 ULURPS and 5 major re-zonings. I support those that have a maximum amount of really affordable housing, artist housing/space, open space, new school seats, community areas, library and small, affordable retail. All city owned land must be 100% affordable and buildings must be energy efficient, preferably Passive House.
20. What reforms to zoning would you propose to increase community input into development? (500 characters)
The ULURP process does not give communities time to plan. At the last Charter Revision Commission, I proposed a mandated pre-planning process with stakeholders from all parts of the neighborhood but it was not supported. Residents also need lots of education about zoning and land use so as to have meaningful input. The City should stop relying so intently on developer initiated plans and create their own based on the needs of the city.
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 100% 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)
As Borough President, I have been involved in land use fights. At Two Bridges, we took the City to court to fight 4 large towers proposed to house 3000 people, and no community input! At Holmes NYCHA, we took the City to court to fight against a developer-initiated plan on site with no resident input. The Mayor wanted to move the Manhattan Garment Center to Bklyn, and he had $25 million for that purpose. I kept the $25m in Manhattan and the Garment Ctr is still here, making PPE.
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)
As an elected official who supports tenants, I fund tenant organizing, legal aid, and human services organizations working with families. I advocate for more housing and building inspectors, good technology for their communication and stiff fines for landlords who break rules. With a grant, we have devices in NYCHA apts to test mold in real time; such info needs to be available to city agencies in buildings where there are violations. Violations must be fixed & the website must be current.
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 support shelters that are run by a respected nonprofit, and I am supporting Safe Havens now that are controversial in neighborhoods. I prefer permanent, supportive housing.
32. Do you agree that all evictions are bad? No
32a. If no, why not? In rare cases, an eviction is necessary if the individual is causing harm to other tenants. If someone cannot pay the rent, government & social services should work with the household to address the problem & solve it. I am excited that with a coalition I have been successful in obtaining data from the courts that can help us to predict where evictions are likely to take place. With data, organizers & tenant attorneys can address the problem & stop the eviction with support from govt.
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)
Year after year, I have testified at the RGB for lower rents. In Manhattan, most rent stabilized buildings also have market tenants who can help to carry the cost of operating the building and bring in revenue.
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