Twitter: @Haroldcmiller Instagram: Haroldcmiller
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)
During my time at ACORN, I organized several tenant associations and worked alongside established associations to force landlords to do repairs to residents’ apartments and halt harassment by the landlord. I have led campaigns to convince municipalities to divest from banks that helped cause the foreclosure crisis. After leaving NYCC, I continue to fight for affordable housing, and tenants rights while serving as Deputy Commissioner in the Mayor’s Office.
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)
I think strengthening landlord anti-harassment laws is a top priority & one of the most effective ways to prevent displacement. Therefore, I will fight for universal right to counsel, the authority to take away property from those that are criminally harassing tenants, and updating the criminality of harassment. Exorbitant rent is another important issue. I will look to introduce and support measures around controlling rent increases. Third is homelessness. I will push to increase voucher allowance for homeless families to find an apartment, and increase the number for supportive housing units to help those who are chronically street homeless.
9. Do you believe that housing should be de-commodified? I think strengthening landlord anti-harassment laws is a top priority & one of the most effective ways to prevent displacement. Therefore, I will fight for universal right to counsel, the authority to take away property from those that are criminally harassing tenants, and updating the criminality of harassment. Exorbitant rent is another important issue. I will look to introduce and support measures around controlling rent increases. Third is homelessness. I will push to increase voucher allowance for homeless families to find an apartment, and increase the number for supportive housing units to help those who are chronically street homeless.
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 about $40 billion for capital repairs and without a real commitment from the Federal Government for capital improvements it will be very difficult to ensure safe living conditions for families living in NYCHA. On the city level, as Council Member, I will support a budget bill that will significantly increase funding for NYCHA’s capital needs and operating cost.
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, an in-depth impact study conducted to see the rezoning’s impact on the racial, ethnic, and economic makeup of the community to protect the current residents from displacement. Second, any rezoning needs real affordability for the surrounding community. In addition, union jobs and MWBE opportunities. Lastly, the project density and height as the projects needs to fit into the character of the surrounding community.
20. What reforms to zoning would you propose to increase community input into development? (500 characters)
1.Diversify the appointees to the local community boards in the Council District to give true representation of the district.2. Establish a real and active community advisory board that would live through the life of each development project. 3. Have a member of the affected community participate on the City Planning Board.
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 30%
23. What is/has been the most important land use fight in your district and what position did you take on it? (500 characters)
The most important fight in the district is the question whether or not to end single family zoning. I oppose any blanket legislation because the loss of community approval is a loss to protect housing long term. In my district of Southeast Queens, rezoning would make sense such as downtown Jamaica to further upzone the area, but going towards Cambria Heights and Queens Village I may not support ending the low density housing due to the lack of the infrastructure and transportation.
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)
One of my top priorities will be to get bad actors like Zara Management to meet with their tenants and address the harassments and repairs issues in their building. I will leverage my relationships in agencies like HPD and DOB to force the landlords to the table to address their violations. In addition, having legislation that strengthens anti-harassment that would have mediation of landlord and tenant groups to address concerns.
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 would not oppose new shelters being built if there is data supporting it being needed for the district and the City as a whole. At the same time I will challenge the Mayoral administration to build permanent housing for homeless families.
32. Do you agree that all evictions are bad? No
32a. If no, why not? Unfortunately there are circumstances where bodily harm or damage to items in dwelling by a tenant would cause the necessary eviction of the apartment, but the same tenant could potentially qualify for supportive housing, where they can seek help. But no tenant should never be evicted because of inability to pay.
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 will stand and support the members that want to lower rents, and leverage my position as Council Member to engage the members who may be on the fence, and I would even help get tenants in my district to attend the meetings as part of the crowd build to show additional support.
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