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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)
My housing justice work has been fairly recent, but I opposed the Flushing rezoning this past year that would displace low-income residents. I had also taken action in my district at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Fresh Meadows where formerly incarcerated folks were housed. I was proud to stand with our community members who would have otherwise been homeless once leaving Rikers.
As an explanation to the next question, I do not *own* the home, but I live in a private home with my immediate family.
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)
Our city will be facing the largest eviction and foreclosure crisis without material relief for renters, co-ops residents, and homeowners, and we need to fight back to ensure our neighbors are protected. Not only must be work at the state level with legislators to cancel rent and mortgages, we must also use our city land use process to guarantee 100% affordable housing in new developments, exercise Right to Counsel for tenants, and keep residents in their homes with initiatives like Community Land Trusts to increase the publicly owned stock of land that is often at the behest of speculators and private developers. To that end, I hope to secure additional senior housing facilities and home care programs that are culture and language affirming for my district that is home to one of the largest senior populations in the city.
9. Do you believe that housing should be de-commodified? Our city will be facing the largest eviction and foreclosure crisis without material relief for renters, co-ops residents, and homeowners, and we need to fight back to ensure our neighbors are protected. Not only must be work at the state level with legislators to cancel rent and mortgages, we must also use our city land use process to guarantee 100% affordable housing in new developments, exercise Right to Counsel for tenants, and keep residents in their homes with initiatives like Community Land Trusts to increase the publicly owned stock of land that is often at the behest of speculators and private developers. To that end, I hope to secure additional senior housing facilities and home care programs that are culture and language affirming for my district that is home to one of the largest senior populations in the city.
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?
My district does not have NYCHA developments, we can invest roughly $1.5 billion annually in our public housing stock to implement necessary repairs, like ADA-compliance, and alleviate extreme heat and cold. Cuts to the NYPD, discretionary funding for NYCHA projects, and passing wealth taxes can certainly put public housing back in the public’s hands. We cannot allow families to go without hot water, gas, or a functioning elevator in their buildings, and I look forward to fighting for tenants.
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)
I would developments, especially on city-owned land, that are not 100% permanently affordable to residents making no more 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). Additionally, I would require rezonings that have quality environmental and racial impact studies without influence from REBNY or other private developers. I would also require rezonings to have strong labor standards so that new, good union jobs are created in my neighborhood.
20. What reforms to zoning would you propose to increase community input into development? (500 characters)
I would propose adding DCP-funded urban planners to community boards, and support making 197-A plans more binding. While 197-A plans provide a powerful tool to engage in community based planning, they have been seen as “advisory” by the City. These plans take effort, but carry little weight and are unlikely to be implemented, so few communities choose to use the program. However, if CBs are supplied with financial support, bold changes could be made to our city that center community needs.
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 15%
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 land use fight in my district has been the legalization of basement apartments, as many low-income residents of my community need access to affordable rental housing or rental income from potential tenants. I am proud to support basement apartment legalization in my community and will do all I can in the city council to expand the pilot program that currently exists, and to legalize accessory dwelling units (ADUs).
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 will use my office to sponsor and write legislation surrounding stronger enforcement of tenant protection laws, such as increasing capital funding for tenant protection programs, and holding landlords accountable for OATH violations, as many landlords do not pay fines they owe to the city. Additionally, I would organize alongside our tenants via letter writing, phone call, and direct action campaigns directed at the landlord’s offices.
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 need to build a framework for social housing that keeps people permanently housed in deeply affordable units. However, I believe that we also need shelters as temporary solutions for emergency housing in instances of family or domestic violence, sudden loss of unemployment, and others. Northeast Queens has been especially divided about an adult womnen’s shelter to be built over community board 11, and I still support its construction.
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 happily testify at a RGB hearing on behalf of rent stabilized tenants, and would also push to change the makeup of the RGB by preventing the mayor from appointing all 9 members: the Public Advocate should also have a say, as well as tenants advocates, so that we can ensure that the Rent Guidelines Board actually serves tenants and not the real estate industry.
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